“I want people to feel empowered to share their views, talk about their experiences and bring their whole selves to work.”
Imran Dean is Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Officer at Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service (WFRS). With the full support of Chief Fire Officer, Kieran Amos and the senior leadership team, Imran is setting the foundations of what a modern fire service needs to look like. In his role, he is working to ensure that WFRS represents the communities of Warwickshire, it is a diverse organisation and it enables its residents to feel included, safe and supported by the service.
Imran also plays a key role in making sure the fire service is inclusive and an employer of choice for all members of the community, no matter what their background is. Imran said: “The fire service needs to represent the communities within which it serves so it is important to represent the diversity of those communities within the workforce, which is where my role comes in.”
Imran joined WFRS as a contracted Engagement Officer in 2018. He soon started taking part in engagement activities around EDI and recruitment and it became apparent that there was a need to have someone leading on EDI permanently, to raise awareness, engage with organisations, build relationships and promote the work of firefighters to encourage people from all walks of life to consider joining the service. Imran soon became the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Officer, working closely with the EDI team at Warwickshire County Council. Imran added: “One of the most important aspects of my job is connecting with communities. It is important to keep talking to wide range of local community groups as well as organisations such as the Asian Fire Service Association at a national level. A key part of my role is building strong relationships with all diverse groups so I can bring back information on ways we can improve the fire service and make it more inclusive.”
To support equality, diversity and inclusion, WFRS as an organisation takes part in a variety of calendar activities including awareness events such as Warwickshire Pride, International Women’s Day and Transgender Awareness Week, to name just a few. As part of this, Imran encourages and facilitates open conversations in the service around protected characteristics including equality, gender, race, disability and sexuality.
Imran said: “I love my job because no two days are the same. My responsibilities can change depending on what is going on around the world. For example, the Black Lives Matter movement had a huge impact on our service and employees. It resulted in a collaboration with Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Royal Berkshire fire and rescue services to facilitate conversations about racism in the workplace and understand our employee’s experiences so we can all work together to make fire services a better place to work.” Imran added: “I want people to feel empowered to share their views, talk about their experiences and bring their whole selves to work.”
Imran has worked in several different local authorities, having previously worked for Nottingham, Peterborough and Sandwell. Imran said: “The role at WFRS appealed to me because I had both community engagement and EDI experience and I knew it would challenge me, so I just decided to go for it. I didn’t think I would get offered the job as I thought I wouldn’t fit it in – so I was really pleased when I did and I saw it as a great opportunity to make a difference in the service.”
Imran added: “I am honoured to work for WFRS. I feel welcome, and I am so proud of how the service has made leaps and bounds around the equality act. There are excellent WCC staff networks our people can join and we truly celebrate all identities and cultures.
“You can join WFRS and the county council and just be your true self. You can bring your whole self and celebrate your heritage, sexuality or gender. There’s no limits and barriers, you just need to have the will and desire to join us to help achieve our overarching priority of keeping the communities of Warwickshire safe.”
Diversity is essential to success and everyone who works at Warwickshire County Council and the fire and rescue service has a role to play to make Warwickshire the best it can be. If you're someone who is prepared to get stuck in, who wants to do the best job possible, who approaches everything with passion and purpose, then we want you to work for us! Find out about our current vacancies, visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/jobs