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Skills Development Scotland (SDS) has published an updated Equalities Action Plan For Modern Apprenticeships. This covers work against the objectives identified for the original Action Plan in December 2015.   

The five-year plan set out the action SDS and partner organisations will take to boost numbers of young people from ethnic minority backgrounds, young disabled people and care leavers entering apprenticeships. 

Apprenticeship areas where there are gender imbalances, for example females in science, technology, engineering and maths related apprenticeships, is also being tackled by the plan. 

The Equalities Action Plan builds on Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce (DYW), which, as well as setting an ambitious target of increasing the number of apprenticeships in Scotland from 25,000 to 30,000 by 2020, laid out a set of recommendations around increasing participation from under-represented groups.  

The updated plan details what SDS and its partners are doing and what more will be done, to build fairer and more diverse workplaces, driving real change and delivering the very best outcomes for Scotland’s people, businesses and the economy. 

Key activity in the year since publication includes: 

  • 210 contracted training providers engaged with nine different programmes of CPD ranging from general to specific equality topics. 
  • SDS funded 58 action research projects covering each of the groups covered by the plan
  • Over 4,000 young people engaged in specifically targeted MA awareness and interest sessions
  • Over 60 employers engaged in SDS’s Equality Challenge Fund project activity
  • The Improving Gender Balance project delivered over 1,000 hours of activity with school pupils and key influencers (e.g parents, teachers etc)
  • SDS produced 32 local Additional Support Needs (ASN) guides to assist guidance staff,  training providers and other partners to source appropriate provision and funding
  • All contracted Training Providers for Modern Apprenticeships produced an Equality Action Plan designed to promote diversity in recruitment by employers and equality of outcomes

Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said: “Skills Development Scotland’s review of the Equalities Action Plan will ensure our apprenticeship programmes are accessible to more people from diverse backgrounds. 

“We have been working with stakeholders and partners to increase participation of those with experience of care, with long-term health conditions or disabilities and ethnic minority groups. We are also continuing to challenge and address apprenticeship areas where there are gender imbalances, for example females in science, technology, engineering and maths and males in childcare related apprenticeships. 

“This activity supports our ambitious target to create 30,000 MA places per year by 2020.”

Skills Development Scotland Director of National Training Programmes, Katie Hutton, said: “As we made clear at the time of publication of the original Action Plan, at Skills Development Scotland we place equality and diversity at the very heart of what we do and are fully committed to driving forward change that will make an enduring difference. 

“The progress against the plan is encouraging but we know there is work to be done to break down the cultural and societal inhibitors in both education and the labour market which give rise to under-representation. 

“We will continue to work with partners to build fairer and more diverse workplaces, to ensure real change and to deliver the very best outcomes for Scotland’s people, businesses and economy.”  


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