Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
A journey to a place where everyone is welcome, can be their true selves and succeed
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is a central plank of First Bus's ambition to be a people centric business.
The overarching mission for EDI at First Bus recognises that we are on a journey to a place where everyone is welcome, can be their true selves and succeed.
Our Divisional strategy is to be leading on the E, S and G agenda and key to that is embracing ED&I. We believe our strength comes from the different skills, backgrounds and life experiences of our colleagues.
What makes us uniquely us?
Take a look at these videos from colleagues across First Bus and learn a little more about what makes us all different and uniquely us:
"Although we are one team, First Bus is made up of thousands of very different colleagues. I believe our strength comes from the different skills, backgrounds and life experiences we all have. I want to create a First Bus where everyone is welcome, feels that they can be their true self and can succeed in whatever they choose to do."
Janette Bell, Managing Director, First Bus
We starting a business wide, ED&I ‘fact finding’ mission to truly understand the diversity of our organisation in comparison to other businesses of our size, and to find areas we can improve. Led by an external, impartial specialist team, this enabled us to understand our staff's real-life experiences when it comes to feeling included and also find out how customers and potential employees regarded us too. This was a valuable input to how we are shaping our ED&I programme.
All of our leaders, managers, supervisors and support teams are attending a comprehensive 'Celebrating Our Differences Inclusion Programme’. This is a course made up of eight modules covering a wide range of inclusion and diversity topics, all to help fill any gaps in our people's knowledge and boost their belief and confidence in our E, D & I mission. The topics covered are listed below:
- Module 1 - Why is D&I important?
- Module 2 - Behaviours, banter and bias
- Module 3 - Understanding disability and neurodiversity
- Module 4 - Discovering race and ethnicity
- Module 5 - Exploring religion and belief
- Module 6 - Achieving gender equality
- Module 7 - Defining sexual orientation and gender identity
- Module 8 - Reflecting on wellbeing
We recruited a Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, - a senior leadership role reporting directly in to the Chief People Officer, supporting our local teams as we embrace E,D & I. This demonstrates our commitment as a business to this agenda.
We launched our first ever First Bus Census, which is a voluntary survey for all staff that seeks to understand who works with us and how best our people can be supported through policies and practices that treat everyone fairly.
We ran a campaign called Our Month of Inclusion campaign, where we shared colleague stories of their lived experience from around our business to bring ED&I to life and help everyone learn to be better allies. These are around 60 to 90 seconds each in length. These are also being shared externally too, demonstrating our commitment to improving EDI across our industry and wider society. If you would like to see them, head to Gareth Hind’s LinkedIn page where they are easily accessible or also available at the bottom of this page.
In November 2022 we launched our first ever First Bus Census, which is a voluntary survey for all staff that seeks to understand who works with us and how best our people can be supported through policies and practices that treat everyone fairly.
We have a long-standing relationship with Pride - which we are particularly proud of in terms of our support for Bristol Pride - with a dedicated Pride liveried bus and our attendance and free travel offer for Bristol Pride Day testament to this support. In 2022, First Bus attended more Pride events than ever before across the country and has more Pride liveried buses in its fleet that ever before too.
Flexible working, part-time working and term-time working. To encourage a wider demographic of applications, part-time driving shifts have been introduced as it was considered many applicants with school-age children could not achieve a work/life balance and dropped out of the application process once this was realised. The positive outcome of this has been an increase in younger drivers, female drivers and also older, end of career drivers who have often been made redundant from long-term careers and have chosen a career change for their last few years before retirement. This one change has seen the start of a move away from a predominance of middle-aged male drivers. We have also partnered with a specialist company to help us understand what we can do to have a truly flexible approach, recognising that sometimes flexibility is also about predictability.
We launched a reverse mentoring programme and an intentional allyship programme, initially focused on providing positive action towards our female colleagues, to redouble our efforts in the gender equality space.