The number of women joining Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service has increased by 900 per cent after a campaign to promote the role of underrepresented groups in the emergency fire service.
The campaign led to 13 female recruits out of a total of 41 joining, an increase compared to the recruitment drive at the end of 2017 of 27 men and just one woman. The organisation had not recruited for eight years before this.
Seven of the new firefighters are from Black Asian Minority Ethnic backgrounds, compared to zero from previous intakes.
According to the Hampshire team, the standards of applicants were so high that a talent pool was created for 70 successful candidates for current or future roles.
Leanne Illman, Inclusion and Diversity Manager, said that the ‘targeted recruitment campaign’ attempted to ‘remove historic barriers’ that may have prevented induviduals from entering the fire service as a career.
We had a targeted recruitment campaign in which we tried to remove historic barriers that may have previously prevented people from considering the fire service as a career.
This increase is great news but there is still more to do to ensure people from all underrepresented groups in our communities know the fire service is a fantastic place to work. We strive to have a workforce that represents the community it serves but there is no lowering of standards. Every job is given on merit.
Of the new intake into the service, 23 were already on-call firefighters who have now become full-time recruits, while 18 were recruited from outside the fire service and are new to the lifesaving organisation.
Chief Fire Officer Neil Odin said,
Diversity is the lifeblood of any healthy organisation and I am delighted more people from our underrepresented groups are considering careers with us.
Our new firefighters should feel incredibly proud to have reached the high standards we demand to wear the uniform of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service – we are certainly proud of them. As the role of the firefighter evolves I am sure that they will embrace new skills and innovation while upholding the finest traditions of the service.