Social care projects that aim to boost employment inclusion across the sector are among a raft of initiatives to receive government-backed funding.
Scottish Refugee Council will lead a project to help more workers from refugee background secure jobs with social care providers.
Leading social care provider Cornerstone is launching a Menopause Awareness Project to increase support for colleagues experiencing symptoms.
The two schemes are among 13 projects that successfully applied to the Scottish Government’s Workplace Equality Fund, driving forward Scotland’s Fair Work Framework.
The fund is being administered by Advice Direct Scotland, and recipients will now receive grants to address long-standing barriers in the labour market.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon first launched the fund in 2018 and it is designed to ensure that everyone – irrespective of disability, gender, age or race – can fulfil their potential and improve Scotland’s economic performance as a result.
Scottish Refugee Council will work with Fair Deal and social care regulator the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) to tackle isolation and reduce employment inequalities.
Their Refugees in Social Care Careers project aims to review recruitment, induction, and in-work support with around 50 refugees and at least 50 social care providers across Scotland.
They plan four rounds of testing allowing time for employers to reflect and incorporate changes in practices.
Working with The People Portfolio, Cornerstone aims to raise awareness of the menopause, reduce employment barriers and increase workplace support.
It is hoped the project will improve the recruitment and retention of women and offer lessons for other sectors.
The Scottish Government’s Fair Work Framework sets out what fair work means in Scotland, offering all individuals an effective voice, opportunity, security, fulfilment, and respect.
It is being used to fund projects that are focused on one or more priority groups such as women, minority ethnic workers, disabled workers and workers aged over 50.
Other priority groups include people who experience gender-based violence, workers who are experiencing social isolation and/or loneliness, and workers experiencing symptoms of the menopause.
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.”
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.”