You may have heard the term 'Positive Action' before but have you ever wondered exactly what it means?
Positive Action is a legally acceptable means of encouraging applications for employment from under-represented groups within the community
Provision has been made under the Equalities Act 2010 to enable employers to redress the imbalance of groups they can evidence are under-represented in the workforce.
If a particular group covered by the legislation has been under-represented within the workplace in the last 12 months, then these groups may be targeted and assistance given to encourage applications for employment.
Positive Action allows for targeted marketing campaigns to encourage interest in a career with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. It also allows for the provision of training and guidance to under-represented groups prior to application for employment.
Since the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service's operational workforce (firefighter) has a substantially higher proportion of white males, the Positive Action initiative is aimed at encouraging applications to operational roles from both women and individuals from minority ethnic backgrounds.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service's commitment to attracting applicants from diverse backgrounds extends to all of its roles - both operational and non-operational posts. For this reason we market our career opportunities using a variety of methods and media.
Positive Action is not Positive Discrimination
Many people often misconceive Positive Action as Positive Discrimination. Positive Discrimination is giving some candidates an unfair advantage in the recruitment process such as lowering the entry requirements. Positive Discrimination is unlawful under current legislation and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service does not adopt this particular type of initiative.
Positive Action does not mean lowering or diluting standards to help under-represented groups pass our stringent and role specific entry requirements. Only the best applicants are successful based on their skills and merit.
Positive Action in practice within SFRS
As an Equal Opportunities employer, we are striving to ensure that our workforce represents the community in which we work and this can be achieved using Positive Action initiatives.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is committed to equality, including ensuring our recruitment is targeted to all of Scotland's diverse communities. This includes targeting people who may not have previously considered a career in the Fire and Rescue Service.
A workforce that reflects the communities we serve makes us more approachable and assists us in engaging with our communities.
There is now a steady interest from the identified under-represented groups who are thinking about firefighting as a career.
To help raise awareness of a career in the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service we have delivered talks and leaflet drops in various community, religious, leisure and educational establishments. The interest generated has been extremely encouraging.