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Diversity Works launched

Plan to draw more BME women into workforce

AAI CEO Joy Lewis with Anwulika Umeh & Meg Kester from nneoma womens group

AAI CEO Joy Lewis (centre) with Anwulika Umeh & Meg Kester from nneoma womens group


Adopt an Intern (AAI), the graduate placement company, has unveiled an initiative aimed at helping businesses attract black, minority and ethnic (BME) women into the Scottish workforce.

Backed by the Scottish Government’s Workplace Equality Fund, Diversity Works follows a series of ‘women returner’ events throughout Scotland fronted by AAI patron, Scottish model, Eunice Olumide.

Diversity Works launches in Glasgow on 26 November where potential employers, policymakers, community leaders and BME women will come together to highlight the need for more inclusive hiring and work processes. It then will go nationwide.

The Scottish Government, ‘Local Area Labour Markets in Scotland: Statistics from Annual Population Survey 2014’ recorded the employment rate of BME workers as 13% lower than white counterparts with a higher gap (20%) for BME women than men (8%).

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) 2016 report ‘Is Scotland Fairer? The State of Equality and Human Rights’ showed that BME unemployment rates are higher at 13.2% compared to 6.9% for other workers.

The Scottish Government’s analysis of the 2011 census also illustrated significant differences in employment rates, the lowest being Pakistani and Bangladeshi people (42.9%).  

Joy Lewis, Chief Executive of Adopt an Intern, said: “With talent engagement becoming more difficult due to increasing uncertainty around Brexit and its impact on the make-up of the UK workforce, breaking down barriers to marginalised groups and exploring more inclusive hiring practices is more important than ever.

“Last year we witnessed a wealth of talent and enthusiasm that many employers were missing out on. This highlighted a desperate need to break down perceived barriers between women in the BME community and our wider business network in Scotland.

“Diversity Works is a formalised programme to give employers the tools and the knowledge to meet many unseen challenges whilst giving them access incredible talent pools that they may not yet be effectively reaching to create truly inclusive workforces.”

Business and Fair Work Minister Jamie Hepburn said: “I am delighted that as part of our £750,000 Workplace Equality Fund we will be funding another thirteen projects to address long standing barriers in the labour market faced by women, older workers, ethnic minority and disabled people. 

“Adopt an Intern along with the other projects are in addition to the nine projects funded through the Fund’s first round of funding.

These new projects involve working with organisations and employers across Scotland and from a wide range of sectors including hospitality, technology, transport, finance, construction, creative industries, child care and IT.  I look forward to seeing how these projects help to deliver employer led innovative solutions to overcome workforce and workplace inequality.”


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