Dorset and Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service – Positive Action Statement
Why take positive action?
At Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service we are keen to create a workforce that better represents our communities. We believe that through better representation within our Service we will be in a stronger position to understand and meet the needs of those we serve.
In order to broaden our representation, we need to ensure that members of our community have an opportunity to understand our Service, what we do, our values and our culture. This is why we hold events such as have a go days and station open days. Everyone is welcome in our Service and it is important that this is translated across our communities. DWFRS places Diversity and Inclusion at the heart of our operations, we strive to create an inclusive workplace where all staff are valued. We operate a one team approach encouraging excellence across the Service. Through a diverse workforce we are able to learn and develop through the different backgrounds, experiences, life skills and cultures of our workforce, allowing us to be both flexible and adaptable in the delivery of our service. We therefore encourage applicants from under-represented groups to apply for roles within the Service.
What is Positive Action?
Positive Action initiatives seek to attract underrepresented groups to apply for opportunities within the Service, a crucial element to creating a more diverse workforce. At DWFRS, there is significant under representation among female firefighters and people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups and also Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning and other non-heterosexual (LGBTQ+) groups. Often it is believed that these individuals are not applying as they do not see the roles available for them, and that is what the law allows us to address through Positive Action. The law allows targeted sessions and events such as “have a go” days, taster sessions and support for skill development. Positive action is about affording the opportunity to those who would not typically consider a role, the taster sessions we provide enable individuals to understand the role and the requirements of the job.
Positive action is very different from positive discrimination, which gives preferential treatment to people from particular groups to ensure that people succeed. DWFRS does NOT advocate or participate in such activities, which are unlawful in the UK. All Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service applicants go through the same selection processes, and all employees are appointed solely on merit.
What Positive Action does DWFRS apply?
Because DWFRS is committed to employing a diverse workforce we do undertake positive action as a Service, particularly for our wholetime operational roles, as this is where we have the least diversity. We offer “have a go days” for members of under-represented groups to raise their awareness of employment opportunities and recruitment and selection processes. We also run a buddy scheme process prior to recruitment processes for operational recruitment to provide individuals with an opportunity to ask any questions about the role. The aim of our positive action work is to remove the perceived barriers that are often created through myths and stereotypes, and educate people on what it is really like to work for DWFRS. To support diversity throughout the Service and during the recruitment process alongside other D&I training all managers, and those involved in recruitment are given unconscious bias training to remove any discriminatory practices.
As you can see positive action is about raising awareness of the varied career opportunities available within our Service so that we have a diverse workforce; it is not about lowering standards it is about inclusion.