Our equality and diversity policy sets out our commitment to equality and valuing diversity. We are committed to sustaining a positive and supportive working and learning environment where individuals are free from discrimination and harassment. Through our working practices we promote a culture of inclusion which means that apprentices will benefit from an outstanding learning experience, staff are equally valued and respected and all stakeholders are given equal opportunities.
Our Apprenticeship Director is overall responsible for this policy, however we recognise that all of our staff and stakeholders, which includes apprentices and employers have a duty to support and uphold this policy. The Apprenticeship Management Team, including the HR Manager is responsible for overseeing the management and implementation of this policy. All managers are responsible for taking all reasonable steps to prevent discrimination and/or harassment at work, and will take appropriate actions if it occurs.
Equality, diversity and inclusion is a requirement by law, our statutory duty is outlined within the Equality Act (2010). This is an overarching policy on equality and diversity that applies across all areas of our organisation. As per the Equality Act 2010 the protected characteristics are:
- Sexual orientation
- Religion or belief
- Gender reassignment
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Marriage or civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
The 2010 Act also extends some of these protections to characteristics that previously were not covered by equality legislation. There are a number of different types of discrimination under this legislation.
- Direct discrimination – where someone is treated less favourably than another person because of a protected characteristic.
- Associative discrimination – this is direct discrimination against someone because they are associated with another person who possesses a protected characteristic.
- Discrimination by perception – this is direct discrimination against someone because others think that they possess a particular protected characteristic. They do not necessarily have to possess the characteristic, just be perceived to.
- Indirect discrimination – this can occur when you have a rule or policy that applies to everyone but disadvantages a person with a particular protected characteristic.
- Harassment – this is behaviour that is deemed offensive by the recipient. Employees can now complain of the behaviour they find offensive even if it is not directed at them.
- Victimisation – this occurs when someone is treated badly because they have made or supported a complaint or grievance under this legislation.
Our moral duty is to ensure individuals within our organisation are protected from inequality and harassment. Our aim is to ensure a culture of inclusion is celebrated and a safe and equal environment delivers organisational, personal and stakeholder benefits.
Our aim must be to respect the rights of individuals, to provide a quality working life/environment and not to accept any form of unfair treatment. We will demonstrate this and achieve our commitment by:
- Treating our apprentices, employers, colleagues and partners fairly and with respect;
- Work to raise awareness of equality and diversity issues with additional training where appropriate;
- Promoting this policy throughout working practices by tackling any form of inequality and discrimination;
- Commit to being a disability confident employer;
- Making training, development and progression opportunities available to all staff;
- Ensuring that all procedures and practices relating to recruitment, selection and working practices provide equality of access and opportunity;
- Recognising that an individual’s needs vary and that a flexible approach is required to ensure full participation and access to all its services;
- Monitor its diversity-related work performance and use this information to shape future opportunities;
- Take appropriate action against anyone in contravention of this policy.
Recruitment and induction
Our recruitment policy positively supports equality of opportunity. Our approach is to achieve a workforce that is representative of the diversity of the communities from which we recruit and the apprentice population. All candidates CV’s for consideration will be anonymised to ensure fair and transparent recruitment. The HR Manager will monitor the recruitment profile of all applicants for employment.
All staff will be provided with an organisational induction ensuring all have access to the equality and diversity policy and an understanding on how it is enforced. Staff training will be provided ensuring all have equal opportunity to continuous professional development.
Staff should be aware of safeguarding issues in order to better understand the signs and indicators of abuse. The KCSIE guidance outlines the specific types of abuse that are currently significant within education (listed below)
Throughout provision Equality and Diversity is continually embedded, raising awareness of our approaches to ensure this policy is constantly adhered to. For example, the policy is promoted by:
- Providing effective Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) to all apprenticeships, ensuring it is presented in a format that is easily understood by all potential apprentices and employers;
- Provide clear entry criteria to each apprenticeship, ensuring a transparent approach to initial and eligibility assessments;
- Apprentice induction provides a general overview of equality and diversity, introducing them to the policy and topic;
- Development of an Individual Learning Programme (ILP) ensuring all apprentices have an ILP that meets their learning needs and ensures full participation;
- Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) calendar, identifies enrichment activities throughout the year that promotes EDI proactively throughout the academic year;
- Our curriculum will promote equality, celebrate diversity and tackles discrimination, stereotypes and promotes British values;
- Encouraging apprentices to explore equality and diversity issues and how it can impact them and others personally and professionally;
- Embedding equality and diversity principles throughout all policies, procedures and working practices.
We will only use the services of partners and suppliers, who can demonstrate that they maintain effective policies and procedures for ensuring equality and diversity in compliance with current legislation. We will review their monitoring records at contract start up and periodic contract review.
Grievance and discipline
All employees have a responsibility to ensure that their actions and words support this policy. Anyone found to be in breach of this, may be subject to disciplinary action. If any employee believes that they have been unfairly discriminated against, they should make a complaint using our grievance procedure.
Where apprentices and or employers feel that they have been treated less favourably and not in accordance with this policy, they should report this in accordance with the guidelines set out in complaints procedure.
All policies are reviewed annually as part of our quality management system. Measures to monitor this policy are embedded into our working practices, for example it is the responsibility of the HR Manager to review data relevant to equality and diversity practices. The HR Manager reports to the board on a monthly basis and this includes information on staff equality and diversity measures.
The Quality Manager will monitor and analyse data relating to enrollment, achievement, withdrawal with a view to compare trends specifically highlighting any gaps in achievement between different groups. Through regular performance management activities, we aim to deliver high achievements for all apprentices, therefore we would expect no gaps or limited gaps. Where gaps are identified our analysis will allow us to develop areas for improvement which will be managed through the quality improvement plan.