Dyslexia Honours for Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service

Muhammad Younis and Laura Kavanagh-Jones, of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, receive the award from Kay Heald at the Dyslexia Awards 2017 ceremony Image: ©Infocus Photography – Michael Wilkinson 2017


Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service has been honoured for its “trailblazing” work to support staff with dyslexia.

They were hailed as “super champions” for being proactive and supportive employers at the Dyslexia Awards 2017.

Winner of the Supportive Employer Award for more than 50 employees, they were praised by judges for having a positive impact on their staff and changing perceptions of dyslexics and dyslexia across Shropshire.

“They are super champions and role models and deserve recognition for all the work they have and are doing,” said Kay Heald, of Kay Heald HR, who presented their award at the 2nd annual awards ceremony held at Ironbridge Gorge’s Enginuity Museum.

Laura Kavanagh-Jones, of Shrewsbury fire HQ, who helped to set up a dyslexia support programme for fire service employees, was presented with a Certificate of Special Recognition for her dedicated service by Dyslexia Awards founder Elizabeth Wilkinson.

While Sam Titley, who also works in Shrewsbury, joined the fire and rescue service as an apprentice two years ago won the Shining Star Apprentice Award presented by Deborah Hughes Beddows, of Darwin Wealth Management.

Newport Fire Station Watch Manager Charlie Cartwright, who is also a Youth Officer in the Prevention department at Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, won the Entrepreneur Award.

Fire and rescue services have a higher ratio of dyslexic staff than the 10 per cent population average. They tend to attract people with dyslexia skills to problem solve, lead, innovate and with heightened visual skills.

Shropshire FRS started a support programme more than a decade ago, which has been acclaimed for changing the lives of staff with dyslexia and Meares Irlen syndrome. They have also made a film about dyslexia containing interviews with firefighters and support staff to raise awareness.

Over the past few years, more than 70 employees have been assessed and given practical help and tuition including visual enhancement aids and a range of IT equipment and software. Many labelled as low achievers at school, have gained confidence, taken promotion exams and are leading more fulfilling careers.

Elizabeth Wilkinson said:  “All too often, the focus of dyslexia is negative, focusing on what dyslexics “can’t do” or are perceived to struggle with.

“Well Dyslexia Awards aims to turn that on its head by focusing on strengths, positives and achievements.

“We dyslexics have a lot to offer the world and Dyslexia Awards aims to highlight and celebrate these strengths and positives,” she added.

1st December, 2017