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.
A family firm in Fife has won this year's employer award, for its efforts to improve the employment prospects of people with disabilities and health problems.
Raith Fruit, based in Kirkcaldy, was given the Business Diversity of the Year Award after offering placements that allow people who face barriers in getting into employment to gain hands-on work experience.
The runners up were Blossoms Bistro and Cafe in Larbert's Torwood Garden Centre and Cairn Housing Association from Edinburgh.
Its Diversity Award went to a gardening business, the Borders Green Team, a social enterprise supported by Scottish Borders Council. Many team members are people with learning disabilities. The team won for its flexibility and the positive impact it has on people's self worth and confidence.
Kate Storrow, chair of the Scottish Union of Supported Employment, headed up the award scheme's panel of judges: "These employers value all their members of staff and there is a great team spirit, which leads to excellent customer service and competitive advantage in their areas of work", she said.
"The Business Diversity Awards show there are many individuals and organisations who are overcoming barriers, going that step further and demonstrating good business management."
Individuals who have overcome significant challenges to gain and retain work were also honoured. The employee award went to Craig Russell, who has been supported by Shaw Trust. Craig has learning disabilities and been affected by lack of confidence and self esteem.
Zac Quinn spokesperson for Shaw Trust said: "Craig has not one but two jobs. Despite the practical difficulties of holding down two jobs, including the travelling involved, Craig is always willing to work extra shifts and cover when the businesses are short staffed. His employers rely on his enthusiasm, reliability, commitment and hard work. He has a reputation for not missing his work for anything!"
This year other winners were selected from the categories of 'Supported Employment Service Provider of the Year' and 'Work Initiative of the Year.
The former was won by a social firm, Clydesdale Community Initiatives, which offers paid and voluntary work experience and training for people with disabilities, health issues and those with offending histories.
Work4U, the winning work initiative, targets young people with additional learning support needs, in schools in Fife. Angela Hamilton, Manager of Fife Employability Team, said: "This early intervention is providing young people with hope, a vision and real opportunity for a future that includes a job and career."
The awards were organised by the Scottish Union of Supported Employment and sponsored by BBC Scotland, Glasgow Works, Momentum Scotland and Shaw Trust.
A press release is available to download.