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Skills Development Scotland encourages employers to diversify

Skills Development Scotland has pledged to support employers taking on apprentices from diverse backgrounds.

The Skills Development Scotland campaign, which coincides with National Apprenticeship Week, highlights how businesses might be falling short of their full potential by not diversifying their workforce.

According to Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Employability and Skills: “Apprenticeships benefit individuals, businesses and the economy and the Scottish Government is funding more apprenticeships than ever before. We don’t want background to be perceived as a barrier to being employed as an apprentice. Some employers are missing out by not tapping into as wide a talent pool as possible.

“As part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week more support is being offered to businesses to improve their recruitment and retention of apprentices from diverse backgrounds. The week also shows all young people that being employed as an apprentice can be the cornerstone of a fantastic career.”

As such, Skills Development Scotland is launching a host of digital guides designed to support employers looking to attract apprentices of all backgrounds. The first – on ‘Inclusive Recruitment’ – can be viewed here.

Research indicates that minority ethnic groups and disabled people are under-represented where apprenticeships are concerned, while female construction workers, architects and engineers remain in short supply.

For Katie Hutton, Director of National Training Programmes at Skills Development Scotland (SDS), changing employer perceptions remains a key focus: “The apprenticeship equality guides are designed with employers, for employers and include simple, practical steps they can take to recruit a more diverse workforce.

“Having a more diverse workforce can lead to increased productivity, creativity and profitability. Being more inclusive also builds your reputation, and attracts new staff and customers. Diverse organisations are also better able to adapt to changes and are more innovative.

“Today’s apprenticeships offer people the chance to work, learn and earn with some fantastic employers. Campaigns such as Scottish Apprenticeship Week help to show employers and individuals the benefits work-based learning can bring. With support from SDS and new types of apprenticeships available this year, there’s never been a better time to get involved in work-based learning.”

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