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Our refreshed Equality and Diversity Mainstreaming Report 2019-2021 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

Evidence review

The report includes the Equality Evidence Review, which 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
  • Employment

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

Top line findings show:

  • Persistent inequality exists across protected characteristics
  • Gender inequality is evident early on in school
  • Ethnic minorities perform well in education, but this is not reflected in the labour market
  • Disabled people also suffer from poor outcomes in terms of work and learning (though dependent on the disability)
  • Care experienced people have poor outcomes in terms of labour market outcomes
  • Gaps in data leave us with insufficient evidence

For example, the report shows that 72% of trans young people feel a low sense of self-efficacy as a barrier to their career goals compared to 66% of LGB peers. Further, 29% of trans young people left education due to bullying.

In the labour market, our evidence shows that people in protected characteristics still face challenges. Muslims, for example, face the greatest barriers and have the lowest levels of labour market participation.

Both these examples clearly demonstrate more work is required to support people and businesses. However, we can take heart from successes over the past 12 months.

The SDS careers service, working with Falkirk Council, helped deliver ‘Next Steps’ to a Syrian refugee settling in the town.

SDS was also delighted to be named 18th from 445 organisations in promoting LGBT+ awareness in learning and work, in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index.

Meanwhile, the continued success and evolution of Apprenticeships across Scotland has helped challenge gender stereotypes, promoting inclusive career options for all communities.

As an employer

The report highlights the significant investments we have made to SDS as an organisation via:

  • Employee recruitment practices
  • Training and development opportunities
  • Young Talent programme
  • Increasing Board diversity
  • Commitment to equal pay

Positive changes have been made to our recruitment process to be more inclusive. We have also seen an increase in the number of applicants disclosing diversity monitoring information, which further helps us shape our practices.

While we recognise that there remains a number of underrepresented groups at SDS, there will continue to be a focus on balancing diversity across our workforce.

Our Young Talent programme has helped us provide greater opportunities for young people in Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships as well as via Graduate Internships. 93% of SDS’s Young Talent colleagues have transitioned to positive outcomes.

Find out more

If you would like to learn more about this report, please contact

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