Supported Employment promotes the rights of all individuals to achieve their full potential through a model of flexible support that enables people to overcome barriers to their employability and access real jobs for real pay.
At the end of November 2010, SUSE hosted the 5th Scottish Business Diversity Awards in the Caledonian Hilton Hotel, Edinburgh.
The Overall category was won by a St Andrews business, Zest Ltd. Zest showed excellence in practising diversity in both their recruitment and retention practises. This café, juice bar opened in St Andrews in 2007, and was quickly working with organisations such as Fife Employability Team, to help keep their workforce as diverse as possible and give people who would otherwise find difficulty getting into employment, the chance they need. They currently work with schools to help pupils with challenging behaviours prepare for the world of work. They work with mental health charities to provide work placements and are looking at providing work placements for ex-offenders. Zest are also keen to employ people from minority ethnic backgrounds and their recruitment policies allow flexibility on an individual basis to make work accessible to the majority of people in their local community. They go out of their way to extend working practices to meet the needs of the staff and to develop them if they so wish, using SQA and local colleges, and resulting in a low staff turnover and an excellent resource to build their business. Their award was presented by Keith Brown, MSP, Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning, who was the Keynote Speaker for the evening.
Asda were clear individual winners for excellence in diversity through their recruitment practises.
Asda, Galashiels won the Recruitment category and highly commended in recruitment was won by Ailsa Care Ltd in Glasgow. They were presented with their awards by Rena Kinloch, Acting Customer Service Director for Jobcentre Plus in Scotland.
Heats took place across Scotland over the summer and anyone from the business community, or the public at large, could nominate. Winners were selected from the categories of Recruitment, which measured businesses who make sure their recruitment practices are open to all, from advertising the vacancy, to the induction programme. Retention, measuring businesses who show that they look to retain staff affected by disability or ill health and Social Enterprise/Social Firms, measuring good practice and innovation in creating employment opportunities for disadvantaged people within this sector.
Asda, Ayr won the retention category and highly commended in retention was won by Stirling Council Asset, Properties and Facilities Management Dept. They were presented with their awards by Jim O'Rorke who is on secondment with the Scottish Government/SCVO, supporting and facilitating the Third Sector Employability Forum.
Winner in the Social firm category was Rag, Tag 'n' Textile from Kyle of Lochalsh and highly commended was Shaw Trust Book Recycling Project from Cowdenbeath. Presenting this award was Pauline Graham who was representing Social Firms Scotland. .
These Awards provide a unique opportunity to promote the business commitment to an equal workforce and acknowledge their good practise.
Callum MacGregor, chairman of SUSE said "The standard was extremely high this year and congratulations must go to all the award winners, especially Zest who have displayed exactly the attributes that build a good, diverse workforce and, as a result, a successful business. They have shown themselves to be an exemplar amongst other businesses and have been rightly recognised as such. Communities need such employers to make sure that everyone has the same opportunity to work and help make a difference to their lives."