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Skills Development Scotland (SDS) has continued its commitment to partnership working to increase diversity and inclusion in apprenticeships.

The national skills agency, which contributes to the cost of training apprentices, (SDS) has published an updated Apprenticeship Equality Action Plan.

The five-year plan was drawn up with the support of equality groups and stakeholders to increase the number of young disabled people, Black and Minority Ethnic people and care-experienced individuals entering apprenticeships, as well as aiming to address gender imbalances.

Progress

The latest update sets out SDS’s approach to encourage individuals to consider taking the apprenticeship route and apprentice employers to be more inclusive. It highlights partnership work and outlines progress alongside priorities for the future.

SDS Director of National Training Programmes, Katie Hutton said: “SDS believes that equality and diversity in the workplace is not just the right thing to do, but is necessary to contribute to a more productive economy.

“It’s widely recognised that there is no quick-fix. To improve diversity in apprenticeships requires a shift in long-standing cultural perceptions.

“Under-representation and disparities in outcomes, which can be seen across education and in the wider workforce, cannot be addressed by any one organisation or single approach.

“Partnership working is, therefore, critical to the success of the action plan and we would like to thank all of those organisations who have and continue to work with us.”

Partnerships and employer support

Activity over the last year includes the completion of the 3-year Improving Gender Balance project, funded by SDS, and delivered by the Institute of Physics in partnership with Education Scotland. Now being mainstreamed by Education Scotland, it aims to challenge and change perceptions of gender from Early Years up within schools.

Other SDS work to support employers includes the creation of an Employer Guide to Inclusive Recruitment on apprenticeships.scot, which provides information on practical and often free or low-cost measures to source, attract and retain a more diverse group of apprentices.

Read the Apprenticeship Equality Action Plan

For progress on the SDS Apprenticeship Equality Action Plan read the latest version here

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