The goal of the fund is to support employers in identifying, addressing, and diminishing longstanding barriers facing particular priority groups in entering and progressing within the labour market.
More specifically, our intention is to incentivise and support collaborative projects which strive to reduce employment inequalities and cultivate positive practices in pursuit of a more inclusive working environment.
Projects must propose to support at least one of the following under-represented groups within the workforce:
- Women returning to the workforce following a career break
- Disabled workers
- Minority ethnic workers
- Over-50s workers
- Workers experiencing gender-based violence
- Workers experiencing symptoms of the menopause
- Workers experiencing social isolation and/or loneliness
- Veterans and spouses of veterans
The fund is aimed at employers – both private sector organisations and public sector organisations based in Scotland are invited to apply. To be considered, these organisations must apply with a third sector partner (e.g. a registered charity); the partner should have knowledge and expertise with respect to the specific equality issue that the employer is seeking to address.
Third sector organisations – including registered charities – that are based in Scotland are also eligible to apply. To be considered, these organisations must partner with another organisation. The third sector organisation can partner with a private or public organisation and serve as the equality-related expert with respect to the identified priority group, or they can apply with another third sector organisation and serve as the employer striving to support priority group employees.
For all cases, applicants must be able to demonstrate that an appropriate partnership is in place with at least one other organisation. Partnerships may be newly established for the purposes of the proposed project, or they could be already established partnerships from previous work.
To be considered, applicant organisations must be able to demonstrate that:
- they have an appropriate scale so as to be able to ensure substantive impact;
- they can provide workforce sector data illustrative of equality analysis and the gaps that they are looking to address;
- they are able to track project progress and outcomes;
- they are able to provide independently audited accounts to evidence robust financial status.
There are no limits on the industry targeted or the location of the project (i.e. urban/rural) – 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.
Please note – Applications for this iteration of the Workplace Equality Fund are now closed.
Applicants will be notified of the outcome of applications in due course.
Funded projects will operate over a period of up to two years; commencing in late April 2022.
Projects can apply for a maximum of £75,000 per year (i.e., an overall total of £150,000 across a 2-year period). Note that projects requesting a value of less than £20,000 per year are unlikely to be accepted given the relative likelihood of weak impact on the priority groups.
Applicants should be aware that they may receive a funding offer lower than their request. Please note that funding for year two is dependent upon the annual Spending Review and Scottish budget. Funding will also be subject to satisfactory delivery and effective governance and may be reviewed if any concerns are raised by the Scottish Government, Advice Direct Scotland, or the applicant organisations themselves.
The fund will support a variety of different interventions so long as they endeavour to reduce employment inequalities, discrimination, and barriers facing the priority groups mentioned above. As an illustration, we would welcome applications proposing projects which strive to:
- Allow organisations to develop their knowledge and skills around fair work principles and build their capability to address systemic issues related to inequality;
- Increase the organisation’s understanding of the employment challenges faced by priority groups, thereby allowing them to become better equipped to address these challenges and undertake practical steps to resolve them within the workplace;
- Promote increased organisational transparency concerning recruitment and progression practices in pursuit of fairer processes;
- Create more inclusive working environments.
This is a non-exhaustive list; the fund is open to any eligible organisation(s) that propose projects in alignment with the fund aims and ethos. The most important criterion for projects is that they strive to achieve a substantive reduction in workplace inequalities and challenges for at least one of the specified priority groups.
Note that organisational running costs will not be funded.
The Workplace Equality Fund has previously funded a number of projects –
Adopt an Intern
Project Name – Diversity Works
Funded Amount – £44,539
Project Summary – AAI will create opportunities in 3 geographical areas across Scotland (Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen) for private sector partners and 40 other employers, to meet job-seeking BME women and discuss how best to create accessible pathways to employment. These will be interactive sessions for BME women to tell their stories in an informal, welcoming atmosphere, to encourage dialogue with employers, and to focus on their aims, aspirations and the challenges they face reaching them. Exchanging views with BME women will develop awareness of and increase the use of the Fair Work Framework. Five BME women will also benefit from internships with five host intern companies.
Project Name – Age Inclusion Matrix
Funded Amount – £29,937
Project Summary – Age Scotland’s Human Resources specialists will work with four corporate partners, helping them become age-inclusive and bringing cultural change so older staff can truly flourish at work. The Age Inclusion Matrix (AIM) enables older workers to use their skills and experience, it creates a culture where constructive challenge is encouraged as a prompt for personal growth and progression, giving staff a greater sense of purpose, autonomy and job-satisfaction.
Project Name – Stepping into your Future (Embracing and Enhancing our Diverse Workforce)
Funded Amount – £40.054
Project Summary – Aramark have a predominately female workforce (66%) & an ageing workforce (40% are 50+). It has been identified that these numbers are not reflected in promoted roles. Following discussion with their workforce, a number of issues were highlighted which act as barriers to them applying for opportunities for career advancement and personal development. These included lacking confidence and self belief in taking on new roles and concerns about their IT Skills. The project focuses on addressing the specific needs of these groups and overcoming what they indicated are acting as barriers to them contemplating and applying for roles leading to career advancement.
Beatson Cancer Charity
Project Name – We’re With You at Work
Funded Amount – £33,425
Project Summary – The organisation undertook research in partnership with nineteen Scottish businesses, which highlighted significant gaps in knowledge and resources to support individuals affected by cancer and identified opportunities to improve. The project has engaged five employers as delivery partners who support 95,000 staff collectively. Together with them the project team will develop and test a range of tools which will give staff the confidence, knowledge and skills to support employees affected by cancer. As a result, employees with a cancer diagnosis and their families will experience more consistent and appropriate workplace support during their cancer journey.
Project Name – FAIR Project
Funded Amount – £45,975
Project Summary – The FAIR project focuses on bringing inclusive recruitment practices from the public sector into the private sector through piloting an innovative online recruitment tool, The Role Mapper, with one of Scotland’s largest private sector employers. The project aims to open up employment opportunities to groups currently locked out of the employment market by removing barriers in the recruitment process and embedding Flexible And Inclusive Recruitment and job design (FAIR) through the use of the Role Mapper tool. It will address bias and inequalities in current recruitment and job design practices that lead to the exclusion of certain groups and reduce access to fair work.
Project Name – SPECTRUM
Funded Amount – £35,000
Project Summary – Enable will improve employment opportunities for people of an ethnic minority who have a learning disability or Autistic Spectrum Disorder across the Glasgow city region. This will be achieved through working with private business to identify the barriers to their recruitment and retention of disabled people and people from a minority ethnic background. In collaboration with 20 leading businesses, a series of toolkits and training will be developed with an industry focus. 20 training sessions will be delivered to staff at all levels of each business and a suite of 2 formal best practice guides themed around each sector and addressing specific issues identified, will be published. 20 individuals with a disability and from a BME background will also be engaged, 18 of whom will undertake work-based learning and 10 of whom will enter employment. This best practice and training will be shared nationally, engaging with industry networks for each of the 8 sectors through Enable’s own national teams, in order that this learning is applied on a national scale.
Family Friendly Working Scotland
Project Name – Breaking down barriers to employment and inequalities in hard to reach sectors via a flexible, family friendly working approach
Funded Amount – £49,925
Project Summary – The project will build on the organisation’s current work with employers to develop a more flexible, family friendly approach to working, which benefits people, business and the Scottish economy. It will address employment barriers, inequality and lack of progression in the workplace. Support will be given to four businesses; one large and three SMEs from the construction, STEM, finance and furnishing sectors. The project will impact most on women and older workers and aims to directly reach 2435 employees and 16 managers.
Fife Employment Access Trust (FEAT)
Project Name – Equalities Toolkit
Funded Amount – £24,492
Project Summary – Working with a national construction company (and their supply chain), FEAT will provide a series of short informal training sessions focused on mental health in the workplace leading to opportunities for service users (those with mild, moderate and severe & enduring mental health conditions) gaining work experience placements, work trials and paid employment, where possible. In addition, the employer will work with FEAT service users to provide information on working with them. By combining the mental health training with service user involvement, the project aims to add deeper understanding of inclusion in the workplace for people with mental health conditions.
Project Name – Driving Diversity in Construction – Supporting Supply Chains to Embrace Diversity
Funded Amount – £9,941
Project Summary – The main purpose of the project will be to raise awareness levels amongst SME construction companies of the business value of having a diverse workforce. There will be support to the construction supply chain to recruit, train and employ more women, more ethnic minorities and more individuals with a disability in their workforce. The project aims to reduce entry barriers to the construction industry for these key groups, and address skills gaps in the Scottish construction sector. This project will be based in West Central Scotland and be delivered through working with a local construction company’s supply chain of approximately 140 companies.
Into Work LTD
Project Name – Equality Works
Funded Amount – £22,500
Project Summary – Equality Works will work with up to three private sector partner organisations to support them to improve their knowledge and practice specifically around recruitment and retention of disabled people. This will help them recruit from a wider pool of candidates including disabled people, more confidently and help improve their staff retention rate. Real case study scenarios will be used to demonstrate challenges around supporting people with different health conditions and the impact of different disabilities on a person in work will be discussed. Effective solutions will also be looked at and discussion will include the positive impact of reasonable adjustments and the dispelling of myths around how difficult or costly they are. This will be achieved through the delivery of appropriate training to managers of change or policy or from recruitment, diversity and HR departments.
John Graham Construction
Project Name – Fairness, Inclusion, Respect – Strengthening Inclusiveness in Construction
Funded Amount – £37,956
Project Summary – This project is designed to challenge and educate the current and future workforce on issues around bias. Graham Construction has offices & projects throughout Scotland, and they will deliver training sessions face to face and provide online learning tools as an additional resource which will allow them to reach all current staff and new staff coming into the business. The beneficiaries will increase as Graham Construction employ new workers. It is anticipated that the initial number of beneficiaries will be approx. 250. In the long term the organisation is keen to identify ways in which their supply chain partners can access this training.
MacKenzie Construction Limited
Project Name – Development and Deployment of our Ageing Workforce
Funded Amount – £39,498
Project Summary – The aim of this project is to provide training and mentoring to address the challenges of an ageing workforce. MacKenzie Construction has 150 site workers, and with over 60 aged 50+ years, the company are looking to invest and develop this group of staff. Areas to be covered in the project include alternative roles for existing employees who through capability issues can no longer carry out their current job function; ensuring that the knowledge and experience gained by long serving employees is captured and shared; and ensuring that through training and mentoring there is a robust succession plan in place particularly for site-based employees.
Moving On Employment Project (MOEP)
Project Name – Employ Ability Shetland
Funded Amount – £42,810
Project Summary – The project will engage with four local employers to raise awareness, provide training and develop understanding of disabilities. MOEP will work with employers and employees to develop their understanding and challenge assumptions and stigma regarding disability within workplaces. Six training sessions will take place with each of the four targeted businesses within their workplaces during the length of the project. Delivering the project to employers, management and staff will enable the project to build confidence within the workforce and allow staff to undertake targeted specialised training (such as disability and Autism awareness). This will enable staff to mentor and support colleagues within the workplace. The project will also provide two showcase events for wider business and industry groups in Shetland. This will enable targeted employers to share their experience and learning with peers.
Outside the Box Community Development Support
Project Name – Mums returning to work
Funded Amount – £22,364
Project Summary – Mums Returning to Work project will work in partnership with a local children’s nursery to produce an online training resource that informs best practice in supporting women through maternity and on their return to work. The resource can then be used by other small employers, especially those who employ mostly women.
Project Name – Flexible Working
Funded Amount – £21,095
Project Summary – The project aims to bring more women into the technology sector by eliminating current barriers to entry. This will be achieved by implementing flexible working practices that allow dynamic working hours and location independence. The organisation will implement 3 key programmes; mentoring for leadership development to allow individual styles to adapt; process engineering to ensure they have efficient and effective ways of working and processes to support their goal; and a KPI framework connecting management reporting to staff reviews, learning & development, business processes and customer need. PCR IT can then showcase themselves to their client base who wish to do something similar.
Project Name – RNIB Older Workers retention Pack
Funded Amount – £17,649
Project Summary – The project has been designed to reduce inequality where older workers, with a sight loss condition, leave employment at the point of diagnosis or deterioration in their sight loss condition. They are 50% more likely to give up work than the rest of the working age population. RNIB Scotland, in partnership with the Marriot Hotel Group, will develop an Older Workers Retention Resource Pack which will be made available, online and in print format, for employers across the whole of Scotland. The resource pack will provide employers with information to ensure that they are offering the support that the employee requires and to encourage good communication between managers and employees, so that relationships don’t break down, and result in job loss. 400 employers will be issued with the paper version of the resource pack, and 50 employers will be invited to take part in a retention workshop and launch of resource pack in June 2019.
Scottish Association for Mental Health – SAMH
Project Name – Mental Health Equality in the Workplace
Funded Amount – £49,635
Project Summary – SAMH propose a pilot project trialing new approaches and developing good practice on mental health equality in the workplace. Partnerships have already been formed with two companies, and SAMH intend linking with a further three Scottish businesses, from WEF identified sectors, offering bespoke consultancy support to each based on organizational need. The project will involve volunteers, with lived experience of mental health problems, in project development and analysis. Findings will be disseminated through supply chains and business networks to support longerterm benefit and wider sustainability to the Scottish workforce.
Scottish Union of Supported Employment (SUSE)
Project Name – Fair Chance
Funded Amount – £32,825
Project Summary – The Fair Chance project will build the capacity and improve the recruitment processes of 6 private sector employers. The project team will conduct a Disability Equality Audit of the employers’ recruitment processes, with particular regard to their digital recruitment platforms, reasonable adjustments available and positive actions to improve the diversity of their workforces. They will also conduct user testing of the employers’ on-line recruitment process by people who have a range of disabilities including people with learning disabilities, people who have autism, people with a visual impairment and people who have a physical disability which affects their co-ordination or mobility. Recommendations made on how the accessibility of the recruitment processes used by the 6 employers can be improved and suitable actions agreed. Managers from each employer will benefit from SUSE’s Inclusive Workplace Training.
The Research Centre (TRC)
Project Name – RAD: an inclusive approach to broadcast research and development talent
Funded Amount – £20,709
Project Summary – TRC developed the RAD programme to help address the issue of production companies having difficulty recruiting relevant staff from diverse backgrounds. Enabling companies to identify and employ new talent from diverse communities as part of a supported training programme this creates a talent pool of candidates from diverse backgrounds for the sector and provides direct benefit to the participating businesses. Key Objectives of the project include: development of leaderships skills; development of companies by introducing new cultures, outlooks and experiences to their development process; training of businesses in how to engage in new recruitment practices; tackling issues relating to lack of diversity by creating new skilled jobs for individuals from diverse backgrounds.
West of Scotland Regional Equality Council (WSREC)
Project Name – E-POW (Equality Performance Observed in the Workplace)
Funded Amount – £35,586
Project Summary – The project team will work with private employers and their employees to improve knowledge, skills and practices to address employment inequalities within the workplace whilst creating a more inclusive working environment. Additionally, the team will engage with potential minority ethnic individuals and support them in workplace progression. The main activities include capacity building 2-3 employers to review policies and practices currently in place, providing cultural diversity, equality and unconscious bias training to 10-12 private employers as well as train the trainer training for their staff members.
Women’s Enterprise Scotland
Project Name – WES100
Funded Amount – £41,240
Project Summary – WES100 is a programme which will bring 100 men and women together to unlock the economic benefit from greater gender-balance in the workplace. The programme will deliver training in leadership and boardroom governance to 20 women in the technology sector in Scotland. The training will empower participants to progress their career via boardroom insight and experience, in addition to boosting individual leadership capability. Workplaces will benefit from a clear action plan devised by staff to progress diversity and inclusion.
Women Returners Ltd
Project Name – Returners to Business Services Scotland Programme
Funded Amount – £49,845 Project Summary – The programme will enable 10 – 20 experienced professionals on an extended career break to get back into skilled employment at a professional level. Returners will take on a 12 week employer placement in Glasgow or Edinburgh with the possibility of ongoing employment, and will be provided with group coaching support which addresses the challenges of women returning to work. Eight or more participating employers will be provided with consulting support from Women Returners, using their expertise in designing and running best-practice returnships which benefit both the organisation and the returner.
Please select the partner organisation and select their sector and industry. Please note that further information will be requested in regards both organisations in the next section.
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You should apply as a Third sector organisation and partner with either another Third sector, a commercial or a public body. We would include Registered Charities, SCIO’s, CIC’s, Mutual Benefit Societies, etc all under the banner of the Third Sector.
If the project has never previously received WEF funding, then this could be considered as eligible for grant funding. If however the project has previously received WEF monies, then you cannot make a further application to the current fund.
We are keen to see applications from all sectors and Industries throughout Scotland. A good application will show a demonstrable need for funding support and all applications will be treated equally, subject to meeting the fund’s eligibility requirements.
Ideally you will be able to demonstrate Fair Work and examples of such across both organisations, or indeed any gaps in the ‘Fair Work First’ that you and your partner organisation are seeking to address as a result of this Workplace Equality Funding.