Suffolk seeks firefighters in a bid to boost numbers and improve diversity
- Credit: Archant
Suffolk County Council is preparing to launch a recruitment campaign for full-time firefighters in the New Year – the first time it has actively been seeking new recruits for several years.
The campaign is especially aiming to increase the diversity of a service that is, in Suffolk, made up of 90 per cent white male firefighters.
To try to encourage a wider section of the population to apply to become a firefighter, the council is organising seven taster sessions across Suffolk in a bid to show off what the work involves.
Mark Hardingham, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service's Chief Fire Officer, said: 'We recognise that not everybody really understands the role of a firefighter and what the recruitment process involves to become a full time firefighter so we're running the taster days in January and February across six of our fire stations.
'Everybody who comes to the taster days will have the chance to try on firefighter clothing, handle some of the equipment on our fire engines, speak to some of our firefighters and other members of staff who work in the fire service to understand the role of a firefighter.
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'People can try some of the fitness tests and will be able to ask questions about what the recruitment process will involve to ensure people are as prepared as they possibly can be when they choose to put in their application.
'The taster days are open to anybody to come and have a go if you're interested in joining our service, but they are particularly aimed at people who are currently underrepresented within our service – women, people from black and minority ethnic communities and people from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.'
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The county council is using social media to try to reach groups of people who might not otherwise consider applying for a job as a full-time firefighter.
It points out that the work isn't just about putting out fires and attending road traffic accidents.
The online job description says: 'As a firefighter you will spend a lot of time out in the community conducting home safety checks, visiting businesses to improve their fire safety, and talking to people of all ages and from different backgrounds about fire prevention, road safety and other safety messages.
'You will also be involved in open days and other events.'