Social care charity Cornerstone's Menopause Awareness Project, in partnership with The People Portfolio

Cornerstone is one of Scotland’s largest and most innovative social care providers, employing almost 2000 staff, of which 1500 are women and close to 500 fall between the ages of 45 and 55.

Working alongside The People Portfolio, a company with extensive specialist experience in menopause initiatives, the partnership aims to raise awareness on the menopause; reduce associated challenges and barriers; increase support; and improve the recruitment and retention of women between the ages of 45 and 55.

This will be achieved through staff engagement, training workshops, the review of HR procedures, improved communication, and detailed evaluation.

With the large social care sector facing long-term recruitment and retention pressures, this project has considerable impact potential.

Moreover, lessons learned will be of great interest in other sectors, especially those who currently employ large numbers of women.

Hazel Brown, chief executive of Cornerstone, said:

“We were absolutely delighted to learn recently that our grant application to the Workplace Equality Fund for a Menopause Awareness Project has been successful.

“With over 78 per cent of Cornerstone’s workforce being female and 45 per cent being between the ages of 35-55, it is vitally important that we better understand the impact of perimenopause, menopause, and post menopause and identify ways in which we can all better support those experiencing symptoms.

“We will look to raise awareness, remove barriers, increase support and training, and ensure that we have the appropriate, menopause-friendly, workplace and recruitment measures in place to encourage more women to join Cornerstone or indeed to allow them to be able to remain at, or return to, work.

“The significant grant, which is worth £118,400 over two years, will allow us to now move forward with this innovative piece of work in partnership with The People Portfolio.

“We will also be working towards achieving Menopause Friendly Accreditation and pledge to share the important findings and recommendations of the project in due course.”

Age Inclusion for People Managers and Key Influencers, by Age Scotland in partnership with the University of Edinburgh Business School

Age Scotland have proven experience in delivering successful change through the development of age inclusive workplaces and exemplar virtual training workshops.

In partnership with the University of Edinburgh Business School, Business in the Community Scotland and CIPD they aim to train approximately 1500 managers and influencers across Scotland with engagement from their extensive network of Scottish companies.

The project will support the inclusion of over 50s and workers using a combination of face to face, virtual and webinar workshops across a variety of business sectors.

Previous Age training initiatives have been highly rated by both employees and employers. Age Scotland are committed to sharing their experience and approach with other projects and across their own sector.

Mike Douglas Age Scotland’s director of social enterprise, said:
“We’re incredibly grateful to The Scottish Government for their ongoing support for our age inclusive workplaces services.

“Our most recent work has highlighted that much of the ageism experienced by older workers happens through interactions with their line managers. In order for organisations to be as age-inclusive as possible, the skills of their people managers are key.

“To help them achieve this we are aiming to work with 1,500 line managers and key influencers over the next two years to help them better understand the needs and challenges faced by their older workers so they can offer them the best possible support, and ultimately maximise their experience, value and potential.

“We have a rapidly ageing population and a growing older workforce who can offer huge amounts to organisations, the economy and society, and by being able to make the necessary adjustments and provide better support for people with caring responsibilities, health conditions, or when exploring flexible working options, everyone benefits and will help considerably with retaining these valuable workers.” 

Leadership Programme for BAME Employees, by PaTH Scotland in partnership with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

The project aims to deliver a developmental online leadership programme using webinars targeting 30 BAME staff that will substantially increase the cohorts’ skills, knowledge and confidence while reducing barriers in the workplace.

The programme will be supported by 25 mentors specifically trained to encourage and develop the participants. These two strands will form the basis of a new support network which will help to nurture sustainable change.

The partnership is committed to both sharing information and progress with other Boards and absorbing lessons from other projects.

Fatima Iftikhar, chief executive of PATH Scotland, said:

“We are very pleased to receive funding to run this program.

“Our team looks forward to working with mentors and BAME employees, as well as counselling experience, which is invaluable when discussing difficult topics, such as racism’s impact on progress.

“The lack of educational and career pathways contributes significantly to the disadvantages faced by BAME communities in Scotland, and we are working to address these issues.”

Workplace Equality Fund Project Spotlight: Leadership Programme for BAME Employees, by PATH (Scotland) in partnership with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Perth Autism Support’s Supporting Autistic Individuals to Secure and Retain Employment project, in partnership with Perth and Kinross Council

Aimed at improving the recruitment and retention of neurodiverse workers within Perth and Kinross Council the project will be led by a specialist charity with expertise in disability training, change management and e-learning.

Over the funding period the project will focus on 4 major local authority service areas, reviewing and redesigning employment procedures, undertaking environmental audits and creating accessible e-learning modules.

In the long term the potential reach is approximately 6,000 local authority employees and around 500 neurodiverse young people.

Lessons learned will be shared with other third sector organisations working in this priority group and with other local authorities and public sector bodies. 

Angie Ferguson, chief executive of Perth Autism Support, said:

“We are delighted to receive funding from the Workplace Equality Fund for our joint partnership project with Perth and Kinross Council.

“As one of the biggest employers in Perth and Kinross, we have a unique opportunity to support the recruitment and retention of autistic/neurodiverse employees with a full best practice review of current processes, working alongside not only the HR team and service delivery areas but to hear the experiences of current employees to help develop and sustain work opportunities within the Council.

“Lived experience is at the core of all our services at Perth Autism Support and through this project, we can build on the desire to improve inclusion and equality within different service areas to continue to work towards our goal of an inclusive, understanding employment market in Perth & Kinross, celebrating the strengths and qualities of autistic and neurodiverse individuals.”

Refugees in Social Care Careers by the Scottish Refugee Council, in partnership with Fair Deal

This project is a unique partnership, led by the Scottish Refugee Council, involving Fair Deal and the main regulator for the social care sector, the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).

Recognising both the ongoing challenges with recruitment and retention and the desire of refugees to enter the employment market the project aims to review recruitment, induction, and in-work support with approximately 50 refugees and a minimum of 50 social care providers from across Scotland.

Through a combination of awareness raising training, engagement activities and the systematic review of current procedures and mechanisms the project will attempt to reduce employment inequalities and develop sustainable inclusive models.

To ensure the approach is robust they plan to have 4 cycles of testing allowing time for employers to reflect and incorporate changes. The pivotal role of the SSSC in the social care sector which supports some 300,000 jobs in small, medium, and large organisations offers a unique opportunity for sharing, learning and replication across Scotland. 

Anita Yu of Scottish Refugee Council said:

“The people we work with have valuable skills, talents and professional experience, but, as employers in the social care sector are struggling to fill vacancies. Our project seeks solutions to both these issues.

“We help employers improve their awareness and recruitment practices, in order to create a welcoming work environment for jobseekers with refugee backgrounds.”

“Working with our partners, Fair Deal and SSSC, we provide practical training sessions on how to make hiring processes more accessible, how to recognise the extra support some candidates may need during the recruitment process, and how to remove the barriers that prevent people from applying for and securing jobs.

“We’re aiming for a win-win situation, with benefits for both employers and jobseekers.”

JRS Knowhow’s Learning with the Legal Sector project, in partnership with the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre

Workplace Equality Fund Project Spotlight:    

The project is a partnership involving the Scottish Woman’s Rights Centre and the social enterprise, JRS Knowhow, who will lead this development.

Using a peer learning model, digital learning activities and linking to CPD training opportunities the project will train 120 workplace advocates from a range of different legal organisations and roles.

In addition, the project will target senior leadership teams, partners and directors to embed and sustain change. The need for such a service has been well evidenced and has the support of the Law Society and other bodies in the sector.

With approximately 20,000 employees in the sector there is considerable scope for replication.

As a Scotland wide project, it will be involved in supporting small, medium and large-scale organisations in both rural and urban settings.

The project is keen to share approaches and learning and has the potential for extended funding.


Katy Mathieson, co-ordinator at the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre, said:

“Our team at the SWRC are delighted to welcome this funding from the Scottish Government.

“The Workplace Equality Fund will be vital in advancing work in the prevention of sexual harassment in the legal sector.

“We are excited to add a specialised gender-based violence lens to the context of the legal profession – in a trauma informed and needs-centred way – as well as provide survivors with reassurance that we are actively working to tackle sexual harassment and violence in the legal sector.

“Collaboration and partnership are core to our work across the board in policy, training and communications, so going forward we hope to incorporate this into how we utilise this funding.”


Jen Ang, director at JRS Knowhow, said:

“We know that sexual harassment is a problem in the legal sector globally, and Scotland is no exception.

“Together with the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre, we will develop workshops and training materials for anyone hoping to make the Scottish legal sector a more safe and inclusive environment.

“We aim to work with stakeholders to create resources that are trauma-informed and improve the understanding of how to recognise and redress sexual harassment in the workplace.”

Project Spotlight: Diversity Works, by Adopt an Intern in partnership with Aegon Asset Management

The project aims to embed sustained change within a major financial services provider through the integrated delivery of online training, coaching and support to 30 senior managers within a major financial services company.

Using accredited approaches, the project is designed to level up the prospects for career progression for minority ethnic workers, in particular women, and women returners.

Led by an award-winning social enterprise, Adopt an Intern, the partnership has secured executive level commitment from a global company with a substantial presence in Scotland.

It’s estimated that the target managers each manage a staff group of approximately 30 who in turn manage smaller staff groups. Approximately 1400 staff will be impacted through the project.

 Joy Lewis, CEO at AAI EmployAbility, said:

“The empowerment of marginalised groups has always been key to the AAI mission.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Aegon Asset Management on the important issue of removing barriers and implementing changes to support talented minority ethnic workers.

“This has been made possible through the Workplace Equality Fund.”

Voices for Change: Disability & Women, by NHS Dumfries and Galloway in partnership with DG Voice  

This project builds on a tried and tested approach by an established and enthusiastic partnership between NHS Dumfries and Galloway, the charity DG Voice and the ‘Violence Against Women and Girls’ subcommittee of the Dumfries and Galloway Public Protection Partnership.

Phase one of the project will enable the voices of women and disabled people experiencing issues in relation to age, menopause, gender-based violence or returning to work after a career break to be heard.

Phase two will focus on implementing key actions that will contribute to sustained change and improvements in the experience of women and disabled people.

Approximately 200 workers will be targeted by the project with a potential reach of 4,000. The project has considerable potential to share learning across D&G communities, the wider NHS and Social Care network and with other projects seeking to enhance workplace equality in rural settings.

Caroline Cooksey, workforce director for NHS Dumfries and Galloway, said:

“I am delighted that NHS Dumfries and Galloway have been awarded funding from the Workplace Equality Fund to support the ‘Voices for Change’ project.

“Research shows that women and disabled people experience inequalities within employment across the UK.  

“The two-year project will enable our staff to have voice and will increase our knowledge and understanding of the experiences of women and disabled employees working within NHS D&G, in order to effect meaningful cultural change, and ultimately create a more inclusive workplace.”

DIveIn Programme, by Built Environment – Smarter Transformation (BE-ST), formerly the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, in partnership with Radiant and Brighter

Led by the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC), based at Napier University, the project has already secured the engagement of a major Scottish construction partner, Balfour Beatty.

Over two years the project will train 50 or more senior leaders and managers in the sector using webinar technology focusing on Fair Work, No One Left Behind and the Race Equality Framework.

It aims to assist the construction industry to develop and embed impactful diversity and inclusion with a focus on minority ethnic workers. Their use of ‘GoToWebinar’ technology will facilitate the collection of valuable evaluation data.

CSIC are ideally positioned to disseminate large events and have a digital audience of over 43,00 people which saw a 13% growth in audience and 259% in engagement during 2021. In addition, Balfour Beatty employs over 2,000 people in Scotland. In year two the project aims to reach out to other leading construction companies with the aim of creating an impact on the industry Scotland wide. 

Kirsty Duncan, Associate Impact Manager at BE-ST, said:

“We are very excited to deliver our DIveIN Two Programme with Radiant and Brighter Community Interest Company.

“They have a wealth of experience delivering training around ethnic minorities within the workplace and by targeting leaders and management within the built environment, we are aiming to see a real impact.

“BE-ST started DIveIN in 2021 delivering events, workshops and digital content covering many diversity and inclusion topics supported by the Workplace Equality Fund.

“Our aim is to educate the sector around ethnic minorities in the workplace by collaborating with Radiant and Brighter Community Interest Company and Balfour Beatty.

“We hope others within the built environment sector will join and be part of creating a more inclusive and diverse space.”

Neuroinclusion at Work, by Salvesen Mindroom Centre in partnership with Burness Paull LLP  

This is ground breaking partnership, led by the charity Salveson Mindroom Centre, involves eleven major Scottish companies from a range of sectors.

Eight of the companies have already indicated their commitment by pledging to contribute £5,000 each to support the projects implementation.

The test programme, which will be run in conjunction with Burness Paull, includes a comprehensive review of diversity and inclusion policies, the creation of neurodiversity champions and the implementation of core actions including voice, engagement, pathways and retention.

The partners are keen to share knowledge, approaches and lessons learnt. They are committed to using Logical Framework Methodology to drive their evaluation and the application of smart outcome indicators. The spread of localities and sectors involved in the project will strengthen the opportunities for future replication.

Alan Thornburrow, chief executive at Salvesen Mindroom Centre, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to receive this funding award.

“For some time now Salvesen Mindroom Centre has been in conversation with a range of forward-thinking employers about how they can fully support and develop a neurodiverse workforce.

“Simply put, workplaces that recognise, embrace and support neurodiversity will attract and retain the best employees.

“This WEF award will help us to work collaboratively with partners such as law firm Burness Paull, to develop a scalable programme of Neuroinclusion at Work: it’s the vital next step on the way to achieving equity in the workplace.”

Inclusive Heritage Partnership Project, by the West of Scotland Regional Equality Council in partnership with Historic Environment Scotland 

This project has developed out of an established partnership between West of Scotland Regional Equality Council, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and Sustainable Pathways Collective.

It builds on tried and tested equality training that was piloted earlier this year. The tourism sector and the heritage sector have a low percentage of minority ethnic workers.

With almost 1300 staff across Scotland HES are committed to improving their recruitment, retainment and employment supports. The project will enable this through a combination of audits, reviews and online training, advice and guidance.

With over 60,000 people employed in the heritage sector in Scotland there is considerable scope to replicate lessons learned.

All three partners are committed to sharing information and approaches and to improving job opportunities as well as sustainable jobs for minority ethnic workers.

They are also keen to target rural areas in addition to more densely populated areas.

Ghzala Khan, Executive Director of West of Scotland Regional Equality Council, said:

“The West of Scotland Regional Equality Council (WSREC) are delighted to have received support from the Workplace Equality Fund (WEF) to deliver a 2-year programme focusing on improving equality and diversity in the workplace.

“The Inclusive Heritage Partnership Project (IHPP) will combine our expertise as a highly experienced third sector equality council, working with the notable public sector heritage organisation (Historic Environment Scotland) including support from a specialist collective in leadership development (Sustainable Pathways) to overcome structural barriers to equality in the workplace.”

Accessibility for All by Connect Three Solutions, in partnership with the Passion4Social CIC agency

This innovative project is a partnership between two creative community focused companies.

It seeks to target the information technology sector through a three-fold approach. First, the project will provide technical training for IT professionals on how to make websites more accessible for disabled people using online workshops and audits.

Secondly, CEOs and other business strategists drawn from the digital, communication and marketing industries will be supported to improve their awareness and deployment of inclusive practices across their organisations.

Thirdly, new parttime positions will be created for disabled people to assist in the delivery of the project. The ambitious project is based on a proven approach to improving inclusiveness and digital accessibility.

The partnership aims to target over 300 companies across Scotland and to secure a minimum of £90,000 in social impact returns.

Thiago Carmo, of Passion4Social, said:

 “This funding means we finally have a unique opportunity to truly offer ‘Accessibility for All’ online to people in Scotland, and thousands of talented disabled people across the country will benefit.

“Our experts at Passion4Social and Connect Three have worked together to design this project for the Scottish Government’s Workplace Equality Fund to increase online inclusivity at a time when it has never been more important. 

 “We will deliver 10 webinars focusing on Digital Accessibility for strategic and technical levels of organisations in the public, private, and third sectors. Furthermore, 300 Website Accessibility Audits will be totally or partially funded for those who engage in the programme.

“We intend to reach more than 30,000 professionals in Scotland to raise awareness of investing in accessibility, and show that it is a win-win situation: businesses can sell more; can expand their reach by finding talented disabled people to recruit; and workplaces can improve their productivity and inclusion.”

Young Women Code, by YWCA Scotland in partnership with digital skills agency CodeClan

Aimed at tackling unacceptably low recruitment and progression rates for women in the digital technology sector this focused partnership brings together the strengths of the YWCA Scotland and CodeClan, Scotland’s first and only SQA accredited digital skills academy.

The project will support employers to identify and reduce barriers and challenges while embedding inclusive working practices.

It will achieve this through the support of six private sector partners, the coproduction of bespoke training modules and detailed scalability testing aimed at expanding the approach across 300 companies already working with CodeClan.

In addition, the partnership will utilise the YWCA network of over 200 public, private and charity partners to engage young women and to promote and share project outcomes.

The project also seeks to build new relationships with woman in business networks and other organisations in the stem sector.

Jenni Snell, chief executive of YWCA Scotland – The Young Women’s Movement, said:

“YWCA Scotland, in partnership with Code Clan, are delighted to receive funding from Scottish Government’s Workplace Equality Fund to embark on a new project that will contribute to ending gender disparity in the digital technology sector in Scotland.

“This new partnership project will see YWCA Scotland and Code Clan work collaboratively as experts in our respective sectors to identify, address and reduce the intersecting barriers and challenges facing women entering and progressing within the digital technology sector. “The project will take an intersectional approach to identify and address the multiple barriers that women may be experiencing such as age, gender, race, class or sexuality.

“Diversity and a skilled workforce go hand in hand: we cannot address one without the other. Closing the digital skills gap is dependent on empowering women and girls of all backgrounds to enter into, and progress in, digital technology careers.”