A fairer Scotland for all: race equality action plan and highlight report 2017-2021

The race equality action plan sets out the key actions for the Scottish Government to drive positive change for minority ethnic communities.

Employability, Employment and Income

Minority ethnic people have equal, fair and proportionate access to employment and representation at all levels, grades and occupation types in Scotland's workforce and experience fewer labour market, workplace and income inequalities.

Modern Apprenticeships

We have worked with Skills Development Scotland ( SDS) in their delivery of the Equality Action Plan for Modern Apprenticeships for ethnic minorities. ( SDS) published its Equality Action Plan ( EAP) Year 1 update on 18 July 2017.

SDS utilises regionally devised strategies for ethnic minorities and engages with Developing Young Workforce regional groups, local authorities, schools, employers and regional colleges to develop tailored plans to meet the area's needs and specific targeting of populations. A particular area of focus will be on addressing employability skills issues for some groups.

Case Study

We are supporting BEMIS's multi-stranded "Modern Apprenticeships for All" initiative which aims to increase participation in the programme by supporting our pipeline approach to raise visibility and awareness of Modern Apprenticeships ( MAs) within minority ethnic communities. The BEMIS " MAs for All" project focuses on leaving a legacy of connections between community groups and contracted providers.

This multi-stranded project is aimed at influencing key influencers from ethnic minority groups, attracting talent to the workforce and signposting the services available to support the success of young people from ethnic minority communities. Through this project over 230 Grassroots Community Groups have been engaged and more than 1,000 young people and their parents/carers from ethnic minority communities have been involved through seminars and other events. Around 60 employers have participated in recruitment drives, events and information sessions.

In 2017-18, the project achieved its set target and placed 31 young minority ethnic people into a Modern Apprenticeship. Since April 2017, the project has:

  • Supported 47 individual applicants
  • Submitted 98 applications (average almost 2 per individual)
  • 31 individuals have successfully started a Modern Apprenticeship
  • 4 individuals have successfully moved into a Employability Fund programme
  • 12 individuals have chosen an alternative pathways

Labour Market Strategy

Scotland's Labour Market Strategy has equality at its core with a strategic outcome on equality of opportunity to access work and to progress to ensure everyone is able to maximise their potential. The economic analysis underpinning it included an assessment of the issues facing equality groups. In preparing the Strategy we consulted with stakeholders representing equality groups.

We are delivering on the specific commitments with the Labour Market Strategy which include:

  • Continuing funding of £100,000 to the STUC in 2016-17 to build capacity around leadership and equality.
  • Funding a Returner's Programme to assist women to re-enter the workforce following a career break. We have approved seven projects to date with a total value above £235,000. One project specifically supports minority ethnic women back into the workplace.
  • On 24 April 2017 the First Minister announced £500,000 for a new Workplace Equality Fund, based on the recommendations made in the Race Equality Framework and the findings of the Equal Opportunities Committee inquiry into Removing Barriers: Race, Ethnicity and Employment, published in January 2016. The aim of the fund will be to address long standing barriers to accessing the labour market for minority ethnic people as well as women and disabled and older people.

Fairer Scotland Action Plan

We published our first annual progress report in November 2017 on our ambitious Fairer Scotland Action Plan. Within the first year, we have already made significant progress in delivering its 50 actions and have also identified a range of new actions that will benefit all of Scotland, including minority ethnic communities. For example, by the end of 2017, we will commence the socio-economic duty on public authorities to require public bodies to pay due regard to reducing the inequalities of outcome caused by socio-economic disadvantage, recognising the high proportion of minority ethnic people in poverty.

In addition, to work towards our Open Government Commitments - which included continuing to engage with communities on the Fairer Scotland journey - we held a series of short, focused discussion groups across Scotland to test the impact of the Plan and to listen further to communities about the issues they were facing. The discussions groups ran from June to September 2017 and included a range of different perspectives, including from minority ethnic communities.

Equality Budget Statement

The Equality Budget Statement continues to provide an assessment of the impacts of spending decisions on the protected characteristics, including race. The next iteration of the Equality Budget Statement will be published as part of a suite of documents when the Draft Budget 2018-19 is published on 14 December 2017.

Devolved Employment Programme

Our ambition is for participation in the devolved service to be proportionate to the level of unemployed people who are from a minority ethnic background and job outcomes are at least equivalent to average performance levels. To this end, the invitation to tender ( ITT) for Fair Start Scotland stated that Service Providers must demonstrate how they will engage positively to support disadvantaged minority ethnic groups into sustained employment, recognising the geographic variations in ethnic minority populations, and being sensitive to the cultural issues affecting them, particularly women and refugees. The procurement process ended in October 2017.

Unemployed people from minority ethnic backgrounds will be eligible for early entry to the programme - after 6 months as compared to 24 months.

New Social Security Powers

During the social security consultation, the Scottish Government spoke directly to minority ethnic groups to help ensure that the delivery of our social security system understands and can support action to overcome barriers. As part of the consultation, we hosted a specific session with CEMVO, so that Ministers could hear directly some of the issues. The key to the design of the new social security system will be working alongside people who have direct personal experience of the current system. The benefit take up campaign launched in March 2017 was the first phase of our work in this area. This work will be developed over the course of the parliamentary term. The Scottish Government will continue to listen to and take views from a range of equality organisations on how best to increase take up amongst groups that are currently under represented as part of this process.

We have recently recruited over 2,000 volunteers to be part of Experience Panels and help shape the system, hearing directly from them about what works, what needs improved and what our new system can do to better support them. The panels will be fully representative.

Scotland's Social Enterprise Strategy 2016 2026

The Strategy was published in December 2016 and includes a Strategic Priority 1a (Local Development), which states: "We will work to ensure that social enterprise plays its full part in tackling inequality and discrimination based on gender, disability, age, sexual orientation, race, religion or belief. Where necessary we will put in place additional awareness raising and specialist, early stage capacity building support, where potential exists to release latent potential". We partnered with CEMVO to organise two focus groups involving minority ethnic social entrepreneurs as part of the consultation process.

Social Enterprise Action Plan

The Plan was published in April 2017 and includes an action to work with minority ethnic organisations to stimulate and support nascent social enterprise activity among equality groups and communities of interest. As part of this, we have increased our support for CEMVO to allow the expansion of the delivery of the Social Enterprise Capacity Building Programme.

The Action Plan also commits us to evaluating the current Business Support contract for Third Sector Organisations. This research is ongoing and includes examining how equality groups, including ethnic minorities, have accessed and experienced the service. The outcomes of this research will inform the procurement of the successor Business Support contract.

Social Enterprise Census

The 2017 Social Enterprise Census, published in September 2017, included questions relating to the participation of the full range of equality groups in social enterprise, including those from ethnic minorities. This Census showed that 3% of salaried social enterprise leaders/managers are from minority ethnic communities (compared to 4% of the population, and 2% of SME leaders). 3% of social enterprises have Directors or Trustees from an ethnic minority group, and in 2% of social enterprises, more than half of the Directors/Trustees are from an ethnic minority group.

The Census will be repeated every two years and will continue to collect this data to allow us to track the participation of those from ethnic minorities in social enterprise over time.

Scottish Government Graduate Development Programme ( GDP) 2017 recruitment

The GDP 2017 recruitment exercise was designed to improve the diversity in our internal talent pipeline. A range of activities, not least early engagement with minority ethnic networks and organisations, and ongoing work to promote the campaign, led to 11.7% of all applicants identifying as minority ethnic.

Work to reduce barriers in the selection process led to a 100% acceptance rate and the recruitment of a cohort that broadly represents Scottish society in terms of gender, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity and other diversity characteristics.

This is an improvement on the 2015 process and a significant step in understanding how we reach and support people of all backgrounds to enable equal opportunity of employment and contribution to public services.

Scottish Government Core Staff Diversity

In March 2016 we started to proactively publish SG Core staff diversity information, to increase visibility of our diversity and track the progress we are making.

In October 2017 the Scottish Government hosted its first ever Race Conference.

ESOL Provision

Welcoming Our Learners, Scotland's ESOL Strategy 2015-2020, provides the strategic direction to ensure we continue to support high quality learning and teaching of English language in Scotland. Additional funding of £1.45m continues in 2017-18 and is allocated to Community Planning Partnerships to support the provision of ESOL across Scotland.

As part of its response to the refugee crisis and the resettlement of Syrian refugees, the Scottish Government provided £85,885 for the Sharing Lives, Sharing Languages English language community learning pilot. This was a peer education approach to English language learning, which aimed to complement formal ESOL classes and bring together refugees and the local community.

We are working with partner organisations through the Refugee Integration Forum and New Scots working groups to explore what more we can do on the recognition of overseas qualifications, including commissioning a short project to review and update the recommendations of the 2010 'Scoping Study on Support Mechanisms for the Recognition of Skills, Learning and Qualifications of Migrant Workers and Refugees' within the current context.

Case Study

Mbikudi Naturally Powerfull

With social enterprise support from CEMVO Scotland Mbikudi was set up in March 2016 by Hermine Makangu to manufacture and sell natural organic and vegan hair care and beauty products mainly for women from the African communities. This project is not only about hair care but also awareness of total mind and body health.

African women use chemical products to straighten and alter hair texture which is a painful and damaging process carried out on girls as young as 4 years old. Women are bombarded with media images of so called perfection that is impossible for them to strive for and this affects their confidence and self-esteem. This has consequences in their everyday interactions and in some cases it stops some women from leaving the house, they become isolated and feel they can't contribute to society.

Mbikudi also has a cycling project that teaches women how to cycle, offering them the opportunity to be more independent, meet people, be more active and get fit and healthy. Profits from the business will be reinvested to provide the confidence and skill building workshops and cycling lessons.

The philosophy behind Mbikudi is to raise women's awareness about better care for their hair and their health, as well as learning new skills that can help with future training and/or employment prospects, help to build confidence and improve health and wellbeing.

Mbikudi was recently awarded a £20,000 development grant from Firstport and one of Eight Scottish social enterprises selected for this year's cohort for the Asda Social Enterprise Supplier Development Academy with a chance of supplying their products to Asda.

Mbikudi currently has 3 directors, 1 full-time employee and 1 part-time employee, 3 sessional workers, 5 regular volunteers and a number of adhoc volunteers.

So far the project outcomes have included:

  • 8 women taught how to cycle
  • 50 children taught how to make jewellery from recycled materials
  • 30 women have taken part in empowerment workshops
  • 15 women have taken part in the upcycled jewellery making workshops
  • 6 people took part in a climate change shifting normal workshop
  • 30 volunteers have been involved in a number of diverse events


Back to top