Members of the LGBT community are being invited to attend special ‘taster days’ by Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service.
The taster days, which can also be attended by women and Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups, will take place throughout August and September.
The initiative has been welcomed by the included groups but criticised online for excluding white men.
Commenting on the taster days, the Shropshire Star reports LGBT activist Peter Roscoe as saying: "I think it's a very good idea. I'm sure the figures would show that if you look at the fire service, it doesn't actually represent the wider community in terms of how many people from minority groups are in it. It's apparent that there are very few women fire fighters. I know the numbers of black or brown people in the population in Shropshire are not particularly high, but I don't think I've seen a black firefighter.
“I think you'd find there are very few openly LGBT people in the fire service as well. The fire service is just trying to make itself more representative of the community it serves.
“Some of those people may feel nervous about joining because they're worried they might not be made welcome or might be excluded because people might not think they're good enough, which of course wouldn't be true.
“Until we have someone like the fire service say 'come along', you might worry. I think it's positive what the fire service is doing."
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