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Natalie Buxton, managing director, Scotland, at global communications agency, Weber Shandwick,

The Gender Commission aims to offer practical solutions to help employers tackle barriers to improving gender balance in their workforce.

The work complements existing activity on gender segregation in the workplace although it will be the first of its kind to do so specifically through the lens of apprenticeships and work-based learning in Scotland.

The Commission will be led by Natalie Buxton, managing director, Scotland, at global communications agency, Weber Shandwick, and will engage senior figures in the world of business and education. Further membership of the commission is made up of selected key influencers, employers, equalities experts and representatives from education. The first meeting is set to take place on 7 October.

Natalie Buxton, who is also a member of the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board, said:

“By bringing together experts and leading figures from business and education, the Gender Commission will look to address some of the well-known gender issues experienced by many sectors, such as the care profession, construction and engineering, by understanding how businesses can make a difference.

“As well as giving companies access to a wider talent pool, a gender-balanced workforce enjoys greater collaboration, better retention and greater profitability.”

The Commissions aims to develop proposals that:

  • offer business-ready, practical solutions to what employers can do now, and in the future, to address any real or perceived barriers to improving gender balance in their workforce
  • develop businesses’ knowledge of what works, to improve the balance of their workforce through apprenticeships
  • identify how business can engage with, and benefit from, the range of support services on offer

It will draw upon businesses experiences and practices from within high performing international economies and will be expected to draw initial conclusions early 2021. The recommendations of the Gender Commission will go on to inform the Scottish Government on how it can better assist businesses of all sizes, through policy and practice. 

Fergus McMillan, Senior Equalities and Diversity Advocate at Skills Development Scotland

Fergus McMillan, Senior Equalities and Diversity Advocate at Skills Development Scotland said:

“The Gender Commission will provide a valuable opportunity to examine the imbalance of women and men in certain occupations, through the lens of Scottish apprenticeships.

Members of the Commission will look for practical ways to contribute to addressing broader and often stubborn, structural inequality in particular workplace settings.”

The commission was set up in response to findings by the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board (SAAB) Group Board. It recently looked at current trends within apprenticeships and identified a need to provide visible, industry leadership by setting up a commission to address gender imbalance.

The Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board is facilitated by Skills Development Scotland.

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