Chief Fire Officer Rod Hammerton, Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service
We acknowledge there has been some criticism of the way the Service has organised its upcoming taster days.
The criticism has largely focussed on our decision to hold separate taster days for specific groups, namely women, LGBT+ and Black and minority ethnic groups.
As a Service we are trying very hard to address issues that may be persuading some people from these groups that a career in the fire service is not suitable for them.
By holding taster days tailored to address issues such as this, we believe we have a much better opportunity to dispel misunderstandings and provide people with good, accurate information.
We also want to reassure people that the modern fire and rescue service can offer them a fulfilling and rewarding career.
Taster days are not recruitment days. They are an opportunity for under-represented groups in the fire service to find out more about working as a firefighter and to encourage them to apply for future vacancies.
Taster days are positive action, they are not recruitment sessions.
There are no quotas.
When we have vacancies we employ the best that apply and only those that meet the standards.
Positive action is frequently confused with positive discrimination.
Taster days are an example of positive action, raising awareness amongst those groups, under-represented in our workforce.
Positive discrimination is illegal and we would not act unlawfully.
A modern day firefighter is a public service role. As well as fighting fires and responding to emergenices, they work in schools and with young people, giving talks to community groups, supporting the vulnerable and most importantly working in people’s homes to prevent incidents.
We want to be an inclusive service that reflects the communitiy we serve. To do that we want the best people to apply regardless of their age, gender, race or lifestyle for this diverse role.
We have provided some responses to frequently asked questions that will be helpful in understanding why we carry out positive action.