Fire Service recruitment campaign aims to increase diversity

The government has launched a recruitment campaign targeting ethnic minorities and women to help the Fire Service reach its new equality targets.

Earlier this month the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) agreed to targets demanding that by 2013, 15% of all recruits to the operational sector are women – an increase from the 2008 recruitment figure of 9.2% – and that the proportion of ethnic minority staff is representative of the local community.

A report by the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) had revealed that just 5% of FRS employees were from an ethnic minority background, while just 3.3% of operational staff were female.

The new campaign is designed to change attitudes and perceptions towards a career with the force – focusing specifically on women and ethnic minority groups – rather than the development of a national recruitment campaign.

The exact nature of the campaign is still under discussion but it will run across a range of media platforms, including advertising, online and events.

David Watson, head of marketing at CLG, said: “This is part of a long-term campaign that we hope will lead to greater interest in careers in the fire and rescue service from people who might not have considered it before.”

But unions are unconvinced that the FRS will achieve their targets, despite a national campaign.

Michael Nicholas, the Fire Brigade Union’s executive council member for ethnic minorities, previously told Personnel Today: “Some brigades in the most diverse parts of the country are consistently failing [to improve equality] because they have no clear strategy and no real commitment to having a diverse workforce.”

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