Scott shares diverse expo experience

As an active member who recognises the valuable contribution all people make to CFA, Scott Tomlinson shares his experiences, insight and suggestions after attending the Melbourne Disability Expo in November 2018.


Scott Tomlinson, at a recent meeting of the South West Region Inclusion and Fairness Council

Scott Tomlinson is a member of the South West Region Inclusion and Fairness Council, the Geelong Group Community Safety Coordinator and an active member of Geelong West Fire Brigade. In his daily life, he also engages in social media pages that support all abilities, where he likes to keep an ear to the ground on what ideas and initiatives could be brought to CFA to support and welcome people of all abilities.

Scott recently learned about the Melbourne Disability Expo, that was held on 16 November 2018, and saw this as an opportunity to learn more about what services are available to support people of all abilities, gain ideas and insight into how CFA can better support its existing and future members of all abilities and to promote the work that CFA’s Inclusion and Fairness Councils are currently undertaking in this space. 

Attendance at the expo was discussed at the South West Region Inclusion and Fairness Council, and seen as a valuable opportunity that could not be missed. Council discussions varied from seeing if CFA had capability to host a stall at the expo and highlight the work being undertaken by CFA, through to member attendance at the expo as an advocate to gather ideas.

A recommendation to be involved in the expo was passed up from Regional council through to the State Inclusion and Fairness Team for approval. Although it was acknowledged that CFA hosting a stall wouldn’t be feasible given the short timeframe, attendance as an advocate was well supported and encouraged.   

As a result, Scott attended the expo, proudly dressed in his CFA polo, cap, and South West Region Inclusion and Fairness Advisory Council name badge. Being identifiable as a member of CFA opened many conversations with stallholders keen to discuss services and ideas - with a strong focus on supported employment and volunteering options. Positives included speaking with different agencies/organisations, meeting advocates and learning about different employment support options.

Following his attendance at the expo, Scott reported back to the Council outlining his experience. Scott’s personal vision for the future, following his recent experience, include:

  • continuing to raise the profile of, and the work of CFA Inclusion and Fairness Councils
  • reviewing and updating CFA’s fire safety and recruitment messaging with a focus on all abilities
  • having all abilities ambassadors that can speak to brigades/groups/districts about how they can best support and engage with all abilities members
  • investigating a work experience/work placement/work readiness support process for all abilities members who may be interested in applying for employment within CFA
  • working towards ensuring CFA resources and amenities are accommodating of all abilities
  • thinking about things from a different perspective - including focusing on what people can do rather, than what they can’t and identifying all ability allies across the organisation.

A big thanks to Scott for attending the expo and bringing back such valuable insights.

The work, initiatives and members of the South West Region Inclusion and Fairness Council, are proudly supported by the South West Region ACO, Regional I&F Coordinator, and broader members of the Inclusion and Fairness Team. 


Author: Libby Symons