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Academic research set to inspire change at CFA
Diversity and inclusion research will contribute to organisational development at CFA.
Morwell Station Officer Alex Batty is in the final stages of his PhD research into diversity and inclusion in emergency service organisations – findings he plans to contribute to CFA’s diversity and inclusion direction.
For the last three years, Alex has conducted broad research into diversity and inclusion best practice, interviewed a range of career and volunteer emergency service members with various backgrounds, and investigated the current and historic CFA culture.
“Much of my research has highlighted strong benefits in building brigades that reflect communities they serve, both in gender and cultural background,” he said.
“Advantages include enabling firefighters to more easily build trust with community members at incidents and increasing outcomes with fire safety education.”
Alex says CFA has a mission to build a more inclusive culture.
“There have been instances where our processes and policies have not adequately accommodated particular cultural groups,” he said.
“There are also resourcing issues, which have meant programs and processes that have been introduced end up falling by the wayside.
“While we do have a lot of work to do, CFA has already made significant changes and improvement in relation to enhancing diversity and inclusion,” Alex said.
“A recent example was the fact that we recruited more women than ever before to our courses last year, with eight and 10 women graduating from two consecutive courses when previously only two or three women would be part of this training.
“My research will help CFA continue this momentum in formalising processes and policies to ensure we’re well equipped to support a range of people in developing their skills and experience to excel as volunteers and career staff.”
Alex will present his findings and recommendations to CFA’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council to assist in developing a long-term strategy to enhance CFA’s culture and to better support a greater breadth of diversity amongst both career staff and volunteers.
“It’s about finding a balance between maintaining CFA’s core values and responsibilities relating to protecting Victorian lives and property, and influencing cultural improvements to create a stronger, more well-rounded organisation,” he said.
This story is part of CFA's celebration of Cultural Diversity Week. Read more here.