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Equality, diversity and inclusion

Our goal is to ensure our services are accessible to all, whoever they are, wherever they live, whatever their needs. We also aim to be a employer of choice and exemplar of fair work.

We are passionate about our role as a leader in inclusive growth within the public sector and ensure equality and fair work principles are at the heart of everything we do.

Our duty

The Equality Act 2010 and the Specific Duties (Scotland) Regulations 2012 detail the requirements of public bodies, which includes considering the general equality duty in everything we do. This requires us to:

  • Advance equality of opportunity
  • Foster good relations and
  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination

Our fifth Equality and Diversity Mainstreaming Report 2021-25, highlights the progress achieved against the four-year equality outcomes we set in 2017. It sets out examples of the ways in which we have worked, and continue to act, to promote and increase equality of opportunity for people in Scotland who face disadvantage because of their protected characteristics or lived experience. The report also looks forward and demonstrates how, through a wide range of policies, initiatives, and continuous improvement activities, we’re working to embed equality and diversity throughout our organisation and meet our responsibilities as a public sector body. Produced in collaboration with partners and colleagues from across the national Skills Development Scotland (SDS) network, the report includes:

  • Progress against our three previous Equality Outcomes  
  • An introduction to our five new Outcomes for the next four years  
  • Our pay gap information for gender, disability and race
  • Occupational segregation for gender, disability and race
  • Our Equality evidence review
  • SDS employee diversity information

Published alongside the report, the Equality Evidence Review, provides a recent review of research evidence in relation to education and employment across protected characteristics (as well as care experienced young people).The review is broken into three sections:

  • School education
  • Further and higher education
  • Labour market

Each section is broken down into sub-sections for gender, ethnicity, ASN and disability, care experienced and sexual orientation.

Equality Impact Assessments

Our Equality Impact Assessments are a way of systematically and thoroughly assessing the effects that a proposed or existing policy or practice is likely to have on different protected groups. The Public Sector Equality Duties requires SDS and other public bodies to conduct an Equality Impact Assessment of new and revised policies and practices. By completing these and progressing actions which are identified during this process, we can be confident that our policies and the services we provide are as inclusive as possible.

Corporate parenting

As a corporate parent, we have a responsibility to publish, and keep under review, a detailed Corporate Parenting Plan which details our commitments to supporting young people who are care experienced. Broadly, our commitments are:

  • Champion our role to SDS colleagues across Scotland

  • Drive improvements in data quality across SDS and with partners

  • Develop mechanisms to enable access to opportunities within SDS

  • Ensure our service delivery for care experienced young people will support learning and employment outcomes

  • Be an advocate for the voice of care experienced young people


British Sign Language (BSL)

BSL users can access our services via Scotland’s BSL interpreting video relay service.

Equality, diversity and inclusion in SDS

Colleagues from across Skills Development Scotland help spread our message by promoting information on equality issues, developments and best practice.

The toolkits we've developed for colleagues and partners encourage an inclusive culture throughout the organisation.


SDS is a Disability Confident employer. This means we have agreed to take action to meet our commitment regarding the employment, retention, training and career development of disabled employees. 

We have also achieved the Investors in People (IIP) Platinum award. 

SDS has also recently received a Carer Positive Engaged accreditation, recognising the policies and procedures that we have in place to support any staff who have caring responsibilities. 

Equality in our Careers Information, Advice and Guidance services 

We are committed to providing an inclusive Careers Information Advice and Guidance (CIAG) service that promotes equality and values diversity.

Individuals are supported through our CIAG service offers to develop their Career Management Skills (CMS), broaden their horizons and make well informed career choices that are based on their interests and strengths and are unrestricted by preconceptions, stereotypes or perceived barriers.

We recognise that individuals have different needs and require different levels of support to achieve their potential. SDS advisers provide a tailored service that is determined by the specific needs of each customer.

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Our plan is also available in an Easy Read format, produced for us by Easy Read Scotland. The plan is divided into four parts:

For more information see our section on Scotland's careers services.

It’s a privilege to advise and guide a young person on their journey through school and watch them go into work, training, further education or an apprenticeship. Their confidence and ability grows in front of your eyes, and it’s priceless seeing the smile on their face when they come to tell you they’ve got the offer they wanted.

Annah Masahi

School Careers Adviser


Equality in apprenticeships 

We are committed to diversity and inclusion across our Apprenticeship and other employability programmes we support.

Customer data by equality groups is monitored to ensure that we can provide a range of targeted activities and training, focused on supporting individuals to access and successfully complete apprenticeships.

We provide support to individuals, training providers and employers in relation to real and perceived barriers to accessing our services, to ensure that diversity and inclusions is embedded within our services.

Further information and resources 

  • For information on the resources we provide for training providers delivering apprenticeships, please visit our training provider area
  • If you're thinking of becoming or taking on an apprentice, then head to to find out what you can do and how we'll support you.
We’re at the stage where jobs shouldn’t be gender-based. We need to break down that barrier of having certain genders working in certain roles. It’s good to have a mix. In nurseries, it’s vital to have that difference. Having a male in the workplace gives the children a different role model.

Stuart Drummond

Childcare Modern Apprentice

Disability Confident

disability confident


Investors in Young People

Iip Gold

Investors in People

Career Positive

Carer Positive