First Bus launch new company-wide 'Month of Inclusion' to help advance E,D & I programme
- First Bus launch its first ever 'Month of Inclusion' in a bid to progress their company-wide equality, diversity and inclusion plans.
First Bus has launched its first Month of Inclusion this November in a bid to progress company-wide equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) plans and accelerate its journey towards a place where everyone is welcome, can be their true selves and succeed.
The month-long initiative, which aims to celebrate differences between colleagues and build knowledge and awareness of EDI across the company, will include a range of educational workshops and resources for all levels of staff.
The month was set into motion by First Bus Managing Director, Janette Bell, with a written letter to all staff, sent directly to their home, setting the tone for the upcoming month by acknowledging the need for a focus on EDI activity, and outlining First Bus’s ambition to create a shift in company culture.
Throughout the month, First Bus will release a number of short, 60 – 90 second videos sharing the individual stories of some of their staff. Fifteen colleagues such as Keith, a bus driver from Swansea who has a hidden disability, and Sarah, a bus driver belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community, have chosen to take part to help increase the visibility of diverse colleagues and promote an understanding of their experiences.
Keith’s story: Keith is a bus driver for First Cymru who has a hidden disability. Ten years ago, Keith had an ileostomy, removing his large intestine, and he now lives with a colostomy bag to collect his waste. Keith describes that living with a hidden disability means you can feel judged for seeking support, for example using disabled toilets, and so as part of the Month of Inclusion he is urging people not to assume the worst in others.
Sarah’s story:Sarah is a driver for First Eastern Counties. Sarah talks about her journey to discovering her identity, and how conforming to what was expected of her led her to not find her true self for a number of years. But fast forward to today, Sarah is happily married to her wife and has two children, despite society often not expecting a gay couple to have children.
Gareth Hind, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at First Bus, said: “The Month of Inclusion is the next step in our journey towards a truly inclusive, diverse, and progressive culture at First Bus.
“This year we’ve made storytelling a key focus, and through the release of our short video case studies, we hope staff across the business take the time to listen to their colleagues and understand their journey. With First Bus colleagues sharing their lived experiences, and offering advice and guidance to us all, we can build our own knowledge and awareness in EDI, and all learn how to be better allies.
“It’s our ambition to create a business where all of our colleagues feel confident coming to work and being their true selves, and we believe that knowledge and understanding must underpin that.”
First Bus is also developing plans for a reverse mentoring programme entitled, ‘A Day in My Life’, and has created a ‘Celebrating Differences’ inclusion programme, a series of bite-sized learning modules designed specifically for senior leadership within the business. Furthermore, each member of the First Bus Exec team is responsible for sponsoring an inclusion network within the business, devoting their time and resources to championing a particular area of EDI.
Notes to editors
Notes to editors
We have three colleagues available for interview upon request, both Keith and Sarah alongside Gareth Hind, our Head of ED&I.
Gareth Hind, Head of ED&I at First Bus on why we created our Month of Inclusion: https://youtu.be/ymgMdMYfj70
Keith's story on hidden disability: https://youtu.be/8o7rAD6HBns
Sarah's story and others are available on request. If you’d like more information on the case studies, do let me know.
About First Bus
First Bus is one of the UK’s largest bus operators. Making journeys easier for our customers, we were the first national bus operator to accept contactless card payments across all of our services and our First Bus App is voted ‘best in class’ amongst UK bus operators. Our most recent investments are in new, state-of-the-art buses across our key networks. We work proactively with our local authority partners, making a positive impact on air quality, tackling congestion and improving customer experience.
We are focused on First Bus becoming a leader in the transition to a low-carbon future and are committed to operating a zero-emission bus fleet by 2035; we have pledged not to purchase any new diesel buses after December 2022. We also operate the Aircoach network in Ireland.
First Bus is a division of FirstGroup.