Fire and rescue equality adviser

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Carol Shaw is an equality adviser with one of the main local authority fire and rescue services. Her job is to provide advice and guidance to fire station managers on equality issues. In addition, she promotes the service to encourage more recruits from under-represented groups.

What is your job?

Equality and fairness are high priority issues for fire brigades all over the UK. I have to ensure that our policies and procedures meet the needs of anti-discrimination legislation. I also assist in the process of equality monitoring for the purpose of recruitment.

I run awareness days where under-represented groups – black ethnic minority and female fire fighters – are invited to presentations about the fire service, the role of a fire fighter and take part in some hand-on training. I arrange talks in schools and colleges and employment services and it is very fulfilling to see how much interest can be generated at these events.

How did you get into this job as an equality adviser?

I joined the service after previous work with British Rail and as a manager with a training provider. I worked at the fire service's training centre for two years before being appointed to my present job.

What kind of equipment do you use to do your job?

I use computers, overhead projectors and TV/video equipment for training purposes. Also, I have received training in computer presentation programs. I attend careers fairs when we have a stand – putting up posters and distributing careers literature about working for the service.

Why did you choose this type of work?

I am passionate about equality and fairness issues. I believe everyone deserves to be treated fairly and equally, whether it is in the workplace or the service we provide. I also believe that we have so much to learn from living and working in a diverse society.

What hours do you work?

I work a 37-hour week. My role also involves some weekend work when I attend functions, events and meetings outside working hours.

What do you like best about your job?

I enjoy communicating and meeting people from all walks of life both inside and outside the organisation.

What qualities do you need to do this job?

You have to be very flexible, adaptable and approachable. It's important to have the confidence to challenge people, but, at the same time, listen and respect their points of view.

Where do you see your career going?

Once I have completed my Masters in CIPD Human Resource Management, I would like to aim towards a senior management role, so that I can use my educational skills, knowledge and expertise.

Carol's route to becoming a fire and rescue equality adviser

  • A Levels.
  • BTEC National Certificate in Business and Finance.
  • NVQ in Customer Service.
  • Degree in human resource management.

Carol's tips

  • Make sure you understand equality and diversity issues.
  • Be confident enough to communicate with any audience.

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Salary of an equality adviser

  • A trainee equality adviser can earn around £16,000, rising to £30,000 for the more experienced advisers working for large organisations.

Getting in

  • Equality advisers do not need formal qualifications. Personal qualities, experience and a mature attitude are valued.
  • Most employers will encourage attendance at short courses in subjects such as conflict management, mediation, or law.
  • Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) qualifications are useful for those seeking promotion to senior posts.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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