It’s important to us at Devon Air Ambulance that all staff feel supported, so everyone can feel empowered to fulfil their role.

As such, we are keen to ensure our staff feel supported and enabled in their work by making positive changes to our policies.

Such changes are particularly beneficial to women, who structurally (more broadly, as data supports) experience additional challenges in the world of work.

Here are some of the ways we seek to support our women in our workforce.

Flexible working

We offer a flexible working policy which accounts for the needs of staff with caring responsibilities, which is typically disproportionately women.

We accept that in many roles the workload need not necessarily be executed during 9-5 hours. Because colleagues are trusted and motivated professionals, we appreciate they can manage their own workloads without the need to foster a culture of presenteeism. 

Hybrid working

We offer hybrid working for appropriate roles. During the pandemic and as a healthcare charity, we have been scrupulous in our efforts to facilitate working from home for those staff whose roles could be adapted to a home-working context.

By the nature of their roles this move applied predominately to office staff and enabled those staff who wanted to, to return to working from the office once it was considered safe to do so.

Since these changes were implemented, hybrid working has been adopted enabling staff to predominately work from home subject to the requirements of the business, which enables staff who are care givers to balance their work and home life commitments.

Equal Opportunities

We seek to generate equal opportunities for growth, development and progression. Our Senior Leadership Team constitutes two women (one of whom is the CEO) and four men, while our Heads of Department comprise a 60:40 male/female ratio. Our Chair of our Board of Trustees is also a woman. We continue to seek gender balance in senior roles.

Gender pay gap

The gender pay gap is more evenly balanced on the charity side of our organisation though the pay disparity becomes more marked once we include the Flight operations & Patient Services teams, which reflect the broader male-weighting in the aviation and HEMS industries. We're keen to address the female – male ratio of staff and as and when we recruit in these areas of the organisation we will look to advertise our family-friendly benefits and ensure that our advertisement of roles reaches the relevant audiences.

Elsewhere, one of our Specialist Paramedics in Critical Care, Jess, is currently undertaking some important research as part of her higher degree, which asks: Where the women are in HEMS? (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service). More on that to follow...

Family-friendly policies

We have recently reviewed the terms of a range of family-friendly policies to offer enhanced maternity pay and fertility treatment leave and pay. We continue to raise awareness of the support and training we can offer to colleagues undergoing fertility treatment and the menopause, which are experiences that can have a significant impact.

Women’s Hub

We encourage women to connect with each other in our Woman's Hub, which is a networking and discussion group for the women of DAA. It provides an opportunity for our female staff to learn from each other, share experiences, steer the group to discuss the topics they want to talk about to highlight equality and inclusion within our workplace and beyond.

Wellbeing initiatives

We feel it is important to offer various wellbeing initiatives and support mechanisms to all our staff.  This includes easy-to-access resources such as counselling services, alternative therapies like surf therapy, pastoral support and the wellbeing channel.

We always welcome new ways to support all colleagues, because without a workforce that is well-supported and feels heard, we wouldn’t be able to deliver our service.