Breaking down employment barriers

£500,000 for Workplace Equality Fund.

Funding of £500,000 to address long standing barriers in accessing the labour market has been announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The Workplace Equality Fund will reduce employment inequalities so that everyone – irrespective of gender, race or disability – has the opportunity to fulfil their potential, and improve Scotland’s economic performance as a result.

Speaking at the STUC annual congress in Aviemore, the First Minister said:

“Our trade union movement is a source of huge strength for our country. We see strong trade unions as vital partners in our efforts to reduce inequality and deliver inclusive growth.

“One of the values our Scottish Business Pledge seeks to encourage is gender equality in the workplace. We want to close the gap between the proportion of men in the workforce and the proportion of women, and tackle barriers to progression and unfair pay differentials.

“But we also know there are employment inequalities across other protected characteristics – like race and disability.  

“So I am pleased to announce that, through our new Workplace Equality Fund, we will provide an initial £500,000 to help address these disparities. The funding will go to groups who can demonstrate that their efforts will help people overcome employment barriers.

“It’s a small but potentially significant way in which we can help address a major economic and social issue.  And it’s in-keeping with the broader principles of the union movement and our shared commitment to fair work and inclusive growth.  By ensuring everyone in society is able to flourish, everybody in Scotland will benefit.”


A commitment to establish the Workplace Equality Fund was made in the Labour Market Strategy.


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