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.


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 Equality and Diversity Mainstreaming Report 2017-2021 provides details on our equality outcomes, equal pay statement, gender pay gap information and an analysis of our workforce by protected characteristic.

Our refreshed Equality and Diversity Mainstreaming Report 2019-2021 is was published in April 2019 and is now available to download and read. Produced in collaboration with partners and colleagues from across the national Skills Development Scotland (SDS) network, the report includes:

  • Updates to our three Equality Outcomes relating to careers information, advice and guidance, national training programmes and SDS as an employer
  • Our pay gap information for gender, disability and race
  • Occupational segregation for gender, disability and race
  • Our Equality evidence review
  • SDS employee diversity information

Equality Impact Assessments inform all our products and services during design and use while regular Equality Evidence Reviews support continuous improvement of our work and inform the development of our mainstreaming reports.

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:

  1. Champion our role to SDS colleagues across Scotland
  2. Drive improvements in data quality across SDS and with partners
  3. Develop mechanisms to enable access to opportunities within SDS
  4. Ensure our service delivery for care experienced young people will support learning and employment outcomes
  5. 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.

Click the headings below for more information on how we embed equality in everything we do. 

Our Governance Groups

The three main groups which contribute to mainstreaming are our Equality Champions, our Equality Management Group and our Equality Advisory Group; each of these is described briefly below 

Equality Advisory Group

The EAG is chaired by a member of the SDS Board with responsibility for equality and it is supported by partner organisations who represent the groups protected by the legislation. They provide us with expert advice to ensure we consider the needs of all our customers and colleagues when developing and delivering our services.

Partner organisations include:

Equality Management Group

The Equality Management Group comprises of senior colleagues who have responsibility for embedding equality across SDS.

Equality Champions Group

SDS benefits from a group of Equality Champions – dedicated front-line colleagues from across Scotland - who volunteer to support their colleagues and promote equality, diversity and inclusion across our activities.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion within 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 also continue to be a Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champion to promote best practice for sexual orientation and gender identity equality, and we have also achieved the Investors in Young People (IIYP) gold 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.

CIAG Equality Action Plan 

We have produced a CIAG Equality Action Plan to support our ambition that all customers, including those from defined equality groups, experience an inclusive CIAG service and get the right support from us to meet their individual needs. This plan outlines continuing challenges for identified equality groups and the specific actions we will take to address them.

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 Apprenticeships.scot 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