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Firefighter encourages greater diversity in the Fire Service

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A firefighter is encouraging more people from all walks of life to consider a career with Scotland’s fire and rescue Service as the country marks LGBT History Month.

Craig Carter

Craig Carter is based at Springburn Fire Station in Glasgow and has been a firefighter for more than four years.

Now he is helping others from the LGBT+ community who want to join the fire and rescue service but are worried that their sexuality is a barrier to employment.

He has spoken out as the Service marks LGBT History Month – an annual event to celebrate LGBT culture around the world and learn from the history of the community.

Craig says progress in Scotland is being made but it is a slow process, and that he wondered if he would be welcomed in Scotland’s fire and rescue service – where less than 1 per cent of the workforce identifies as LGBT+.

He said: "It was daunting coming into the job. You do wonder if people will accept you and wonder how they will treat you.

"But I have a good relationship with the people on my watch and can speak to them about anything - whether it's work-related or about outside of work. I'm supported by my watch commander and my colleagues.”

Craig hopes to help change perceptions within the Service and in wider society by speaking out about his own experiences, including helping to organise and speaking directly with attendees at the Service’s dedicated online recruitment information events for the LGBT community.

He continued: “I think being LGBT is becoming more accepted in society, but change takes time.

"I'm quite reserved about my life, but if people ask everyday questions, then I tell them - I'm open."

However, Craig warns that while the opportunity to become a firefighter is there for anyone – the tough physical and mental criteria is also the same for all.

He said: "People maybe think you'll get in and become a firefighter if you're gay or black, but that's not the case - the criteria are the same for everyone.

"I think the Service is doing everything it can to recruit more LGBT people - the opportunity is there for underrepresented groups.

"You need to be mentally and physically fit to be a firefighter. The training is intense, but I enjoy it.

"If anyone is interested in working with the SFRS then they will be supported."

Deputy Assistant Chief Officer David Farries is the SFRS’ Senior LGBT Champion.

He said: “LGBT History Month is all about learning from the past to make things better tomorrow and lived experiences such as Craig’s are central to that.

"We're proud to support LGBT History month and we are absolutely committed to creating a diverse, inclusive and equal workforce that really reflects the communities we protect.”

A recruitment information event for members of the LGBT community is being held on Thursday, February 10 between 6pm and 8pm. You can book your space at the free online event here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/lgbt-recruitment-information-session-tickets-229450892797

For more information about LGBT History month, visit: https://www.lgbthistory.org.uk/

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