Improving firefighter diversity is a key priority for the Government’s ambitious fire reform programme. The most recent 2017 operational data, published on 26 October, showed that only 5.2% of firefighters in England are women and 3.9% are from an ethnic minority group. This is unacceptable and needs to be significantly improved so that firefighters are representative of the communities they serve.
While in 2017 we did see movement in a positive direction in terms of new joiners to the firefighter role: 8.7% were women and 5.1 % from ethnic minorities, there is still further to go. This is why the Home Office will shortly be launching a national campaign with a focus of ‘Join the Team; Become a Firefighter’ to raise awareness of the role of a modern firefighter and help improve diversity.
The campaign, which is being supported by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), Local Government Association (LGA) and Inclusive Fire Service Group (IFSG) will:
(i) target those from under-represented groups that may not have previously been interested in the role;
(ii) provide information on the breadth of role across prevention, protection; and response; and
(iii) produce guidance and toolkits to help those interested in the role overcome any challenges they face during the recruitment rounds. The campaign will enhance and not duplicate the work already being undertaken by fire and rescue services in England to improve diversity.