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Supporting diversity and inclusion in apprenticeships through partnership working remains a key focus for Skills Development Scotland as work-based learning opportunities continue to grow.

The national skills agency, which contributes to the cost of training apprentices on behalf of Scottish Government, has published its latest update to the 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 within certain sectors.

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.

Chair of Skills Development Scotland, Frank Mitchell, said: “Scotland’s biggest asset is its people – their skills are the basis for achieving inclusive growth, wealth creation, equality and sustainability.

“At Skills Development Scotland, we are committed to ensuring that individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds can access work-based learning opportunities and achieve equitable outcomes. We are also working to encourage employers to value and develop a diverse talent pool with the right skills for their business.”

First published in 2015, Apprenticeships Equality Action Plan sets SDS’s approach to working with partners to deliver this ambition.

Focus for the updated plan and the year ahead include:

  • Continue to work with local and national partners to support individuals to successfully apply for apprenticeships
  • Build the capacity of learning providers to help them better understand how to attract and support individuals from under-represented groups
  • Embedding good practice in diversity and inclusion in the expansion of Foundation and Graduate Apprenticeships
  • Work with the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board’s Gender Commission to tackle the gender imbalance seen in some sectors
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