University 'FireWorks' team appeals for more information on equality and diversity as the project draws to a close

Published: 17 November 2005 at 15:16

Anglia Ruskin University's FireWorks: for Equality in the Fire Service Project team, studying equality and diversity within the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS), is inviting members of the Voluntary and Part-Time Uniformed Public Emergency Services to contribute to its study by commenting on issues of equality and diversity at work.

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The call for help has been made as the team prepare to reveal the findings of their research into the situation regarding equality and diversity within the UK FRS. The team of leading academics and researchers is keen to hear about the personal experiences that members of the Voluntary and Part-Time Uniformed Public Emergency Service sector have had while working within the different strands of the service.

They are looking, in particular, for responses from females and members of minority ethnic groups. Those most likely to be able to help are those who have had found the traditional framework of the sector limiting to their career progress, and those, on the other hand, who have thrived on the challenge of succeeding in their roles.

The specific questions the team want to pose surround the subject of what makes individuals volunteer to represent their community and why are certain people within the community are over and under-represented within certain organisations.

This will assist the project team which is currently considering the experiences of part-time (retained duty system) firefighters.

Dr Jaki Lilly, Research Director explains:

"We want to know more about the real and perceived barriers facing women employees and employees from minority ethnic backgrounds today.”

"Our particular focus is on what prevents these employees from joining different career pathways, what are the myths that inhibit their recruitment to certain sectors and what factors work against their retention and promotion.”

"We're particularly interested in how much similarity or contrast there is between the situation within the UK FRS specifically and the rest of the Voluntary and Part-Time Uniformed Public Emergency Services."

The FireWorks research project is jointly funded by Anglia Ruskin University and the European Social Fund (ESF). It is being implemented to improve the employment, retention and promotion prospects of women and members of minority ethnic groups within the FRS.

The FireWorks project has involved participation from Fire and Rescue Services within the following regions: Bedfordshire & Luton, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Greater Manchester, Hertfordshire, Lancashire, Leicestershire, London, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, South Yorkshire, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Midlands and West Yorkshire.

Helping the Anglia Ruskin University academics to identify the main areas for change within the FireWorks programme are key stakeholders including trade unions, the Commission for Racial Equality, the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Audit Commission.

Further information can be found on the FireWorks project website or email to Jaki Lilly at j.lilly@anglia.ac.uk or write to FireWorks, Anglia Ruskin University, 110 Mellish Clarke, East Road, Cambridge CB1 1PT.