Young People and the Emergency Services: Working Towards Inclusive Partnerships

MacDonald, Fiona ORCID: 0000-0003-1966-0810 (2021) Young People and the Emergency Services: Working Towards Inclusive Partnerships. Technical Report. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, Melbourne, Australia.


The ‘Diversity and inclusion: building strength and capability’ project identified the need for Emergency Management Organisations (EMOs) to develop a greater understanding of the communities they serve, and to look for ways to engage more effectively with the diverse nature of Australian communities. The community aspect of the project introduced a new perspective for EMOs and the development of diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategies by introducing the experiences of communities themselves. The research focused on two key groups: a refugee community in regional Victoria; and young people aged 18–25 years old. Findings from the young people’s group informed the development of this resource.1 Young people, 18–25 year olds, may not identify themselves as a diverse community. We define diversity as the way we differ and this age group has a low level of community participation with the emergency services. Young people represent a unique challenge for EMOs, with low levels of community engagement. Their life stage of emerging adulthood and increasing independence, as well as their focus on study and/or work, present barriers to their community engagement. The changing nature of volunteering presents new opportunities for EMOs to engage with this age group and to develop inclusive partnerships. The resource begins with an overview of what is important to young people, their areas of interest, and motivation to engage in their community. Communicating effectively and through their popular social media mediums is vital, and this resource provides an overview of how to engage with this age group online. The resource also provides strategies of how to find ways to work together, and the skills, attributes and capabilities young people bring to your organisation. The resource has a practical focus, and provides links to organisations who have developed effective strategies to engage young people. Links to existing resources with checklists and more information about how to work with young people in your organisation are also provided. Young people have a lot to offer EMOs, but they are not necessarily aware of their own potential. Developing an understanding of young people’s interests and motivation is important if you are to find ways to develop inclusive partnerships that are mutually beneficial. ‘It’s just how you make these links where people can see you have all of these capabilities that we would really love to have and this would be a great resource to have and maybe inspiring or making young people aspire to be part of these emergency services. Because for a lot of people, I’m generalising, I think people think they’d love to do it, but don’t think they’re capable. I have so much respect for people who are in the police or fire brigade and things, but I don’t know if I could.’ — Young female

Dimensions Badge

Altmetric Badge

Item type Monograph (Technical Report)
DOI 10.26196/enwx-dn60
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1607 Social Work
Historical > FOR Classification > 1608 Sociology
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities
Keywords emergency services, inclusive, partnerships, young people
Download/View statistics View download statistics for this item

Data Citation/Attribution

MacDonald, F. (2021). Young People and the Emergency Services: Working Towards Inclusive Partnerships. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC.

Search Google Scholar

Repository staff login