£800,000 fund launched to make workplaces more inclusive and diverse

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

The Scottish Government-funded initiative, with £800,000 available in the first year, aims to break down long-standing barriers in the labor market.

Applications for the 2022-2024 season Workplace Equality Fund are now open, which will for the first time be administered by Advice Direct Scotland.

Third sector organisations, public sector organizations and private sector companies can apply for up to £75,000 each year from the fund to carry out activities that will help improve diversity in the workplace.

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

Projects can take place in any sector, industry or geographic area, as long as they demonstrate impact on priority groups by addressing systemic inequalities in the workplace.

The fund was first launched by Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon in 2018.

Funds last year offered immediate support during the pandemic to ensure that efforts to promote and mainstream equality in the workplace can continue so that equality groups are not further disadvantaged by the impact economy of Covid-19.

Applications are open until April 11.

Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work, Richard Lochhead, said: “Employment rates, pay gaps, occupational segregation, discrimination at work and opportunities for advancement in the market of work vary widely across Scotland.

“The Scottish Government is committed to fostering inclusive economic growth and helping employers develop their workplace practices to tackle inequality is key to the fund.

“Promoting the growth of employment opportunities and tackling inequality in the labor market is essential to the sustained and long-term prosperity of the Scottish economy.”

Pamela Stewart, Deputy Chief Executive of Advice Direct Scotland, added: “We are committed to supporting projects that aim to improve working practices and diversity in the workplace, which is good for people and also good for business.

“We encourage organizations across Scotland to apply for support from the Workplace Equality Fund so that more employers can reduce inequality, discrimination and barriers in employment.”

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