Leading SFRS figure says "no quotas" as Service prepares to launch recruitment drive

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by Andrew Burns

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is reaching out to under-represented groups to apply to become wholetime firefighters – but there are no guarantees, says a leading figure.

The Service has launched its #BreakTheMould campaign to attract a wider variety of backgrounds to frontline ranks and information sessions are currently being held across Scotland, including bespoke to women, ahead of recruitment opening on March 21.

At present, only five per cent of the workforce identify as women, with less than one per cent as being from an ethnic community and less than one per cent have identified as LGBT+.

During the last recruitment campaign, just eight per cent of all applicants were women.

Liz Barnes is the SFRS Director of People and Organisational Development.

She said: “We are a Service that prides itself on working at the very heart of our communities to keep people safe and it is therefore imperative that we reflect the diversity of those communities.Liz Barnes is the SFRS Director of People and Organisational Development.

“We are actively reaching out through our #BreakTheMould campaign to welcome and support people to take that first step and we are also holding information sessions including some targeted specifically at women.

“But let me be very clear – there are no quotas here and no one has any advantage. You will have to hit the standard for your application to be accepted so I would advise everyone to give it great thought and consideration.

“We are hoping that the more under-represented groups apply, so more will be successful. We want to see a far higher number of all under-represented groups applying to achieve that critical mass to push through to success.”

Applications are initially reviewed and shortlisted “blindly” by hand – meaning there is no identifying data made available such as names, gender, age, ethnicity or sexuality - with each applicant only identified by a number.

Following this, shortlisted candidates will undertake online psychometric tests which assess their calculation and situational judgement.

Should a candidate make it past these tests, they will then be invited for an interview, fitness test and a practical assessment at one of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s training centres.

Director Barnes added: “Our process is designed to ensure a level playing field from the outset.

“Everyone who is invited for interviews, fitness tests and practical selection tests will undergo exactly the same process.

“Our standards have never changed, and they are high – but if you have what it takes, then we will help you get there.”

Successful applicants will join colleagues on the front line who are not only skilled in rope rescue and water rescue but also CPR and enhanced Home Fire Safety Visits for the elderly and the vulnerable. The SFRS also works with a wide range of partners to pool knowledge and skills as part of a co-ordinated prevention drive to keep people safe.

But Mrs Barnes cautioned applicants to take their time and ensure they submit the best possible application

She continued: “Once applications go live you will have almost three weeks to make your submission.

“Don’t rush through it and please be aware that we will accept only your first application so do not leave it to the last minute and do not attempt to submit multiple applications.

“I would urge those who are interested to also follow our dedicated social media accounts where we will host, for example, a live question and answer session with a senior officer.

“This is an exciting time and we are very much looking forward to welcoming the next generation into a Service that is seeking to do so more for the people of Scotland.”

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For detailed information on the role and what will be expected of potential applicants, visit /work-with-us.aspx

For regular updates on the recruitment campaign follow the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service on Facebook and @fire_scot on Twitter and Instagram, or search for #BreakTheMould

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