Two-year drive to make Scotland's workplaces more inclusive and diverse

A two-year equality fund has been launched to make Scottish workplaces more inclusive and diverse.

By Stephen Wilkie
Monday, 17th January 2022, 1:49 pm

The Scottish Government-funded initiative, with £800,000 available in its first year, aims to address longstanding barriers in the labour market so that everyone – irrespective of gender, age, race, or disability - can fulfil their potential.

Applications for the 2022-2024 Workplace Equality Fund are now open, and for the first time will be administered by Advice Direct Scotland, the country’s national advice service.

Charities, third sector organisations, public sector organisations and private sector businesses can apply for up to £75,000 in each year of the fund to carry out activities that will help to improve diversity in the workplace.

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The funding is used for projects focused on one or more priority groups from the following list: women; minority ethnic workers; disabled workers; older workers (those aged over 50); people who experience gender-based violence; workers who are experiencing social isolation and/or loneliness; workers experiencing symptoms of the menopause; and veterans and spouses of veterans.

Projects can take place within any sector, industry or geographic area provided that they demonstrate the impact on priority groups through addressing systemic inequalities in the workplace.

The Workplace Equality Fund was first launched by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in 2018 and last offered immediate support during the pandemic to ensure that efforts to promote and embed workplace equality could continue.

Clare Alexander, head of business models and workplace innovation at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Fair work principles lie at the heart of our approach to creating a more inclusive and equal economy across Scotland. Evidence shows that employers can benefit through productivity, employee retention and more by having a diverse, fairly rewarded and respected workforce.

“I’d encourage organisations to take the opportunity to apply for the Workplace Equality Fund and widen access to employment and progression. Having a more committed, better skilled and adaptable workforce who can spot challenges, solve problems and offer ideas for improvement creates real value.

“This is particularly important as we transition to a net zero economy and ensure that change is fair for the wellbeing of Scotland’s workforce.”

Applications are open until April 11, 2022. Organisations and businesses that wish to apply for funding should visit www.equalityadvice.scot.

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