First Bus recognised for inclusivity

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First has been recognised for its diversity and inclusion work. Two of the company’s new electric buses are seen at Seacroft Green bus station in Leeds. RAY WARD

First Bus has become the UK’s first bus operator to be awarded Bronze status by Inclusive Employers, an evidence-based workplace accreditation tool which measures inclusion and diversity within an organisation and assesses where they are on their equality, diversity & inclusion (EDI) journey.

To gain this accreditation, First Bus answered 35 questions that covered all the protected characteristics and wider EDI themes – providing over 250 pieces of evidence and over 10,000 words outlining its commitment to inclusion and diversity. The questions were divided into six topics – engage, equip, empower, embed, evaluate and evolve.

Achieving Bronze accreditation is a huge milestone, the company says, and recognises its continued commitment to embedding EDI initiatives as part of its wider transformation journey.

Inclusive Employers said it was impressed by First Bus’ range of inclusion activities and variety of approaches to increasing involvement and engagement, praising its dedication to creating a place where everyone is welcome and able to thrive.

First Bus Chief People Officer Kevin Green said: “What we’ve achieved throughout our transformation journey over the past couple of years is incredible, and it’s thanks to the hard work and commitment of everyone at First Bus. We’re incredibly proud of this achievement, but recognise we’ve still got lots to do on our journey to being a place where everyone feels welcome, can be their true selves and succeed.

“The report from Inclusive Employers will support us to drive further positive change in the EDI space and we are looking forward to progressing future plans.”

Senior Inclusive Employers Standard Programme Lead Emily Pattinson said: “By having such an inclusive purpose and strategic approach, it demonstrates First Bus’ true commitment to ensuring that EDI is centric to its organisation. Achieving this Bronze may only be the start of the journey, but it is an acknowledgement of strong inclusive foundations that will only lead to even stronger work in the future.”