Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy – Apprenticeship

1. Policy Statement:

Financial Services Training Partners Limited (FSTP) is committed to developing, maintaining and supporting a culture where equality, diversity and inclusion is paramount in the apprenticeship environment, and where everyone is treated equally.

Apprentices will be helped to realise their potential regardless of their age, race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, creed, sexual orientation, disability, sex, gender identity, marital or civil partnership status, parental status, religion, belief or non-belief, social or economic class, employment status or any other criteria that cannot be shown to be properly justifiable.

FSTP is committed to developing, maintaining and supporting a culture of equality, diversity and inclusion within their training provision, in which apprentices feel free from harassment and bullying of any description and/or any other form of unwanted behaviour.

Equality, diversity and inclusion are fundamental to FSTP and are essential to ensure fair teaching and learning practice for apprenticeships and a fair and honest workplace. With this in mind, we are ensuring that as part of our recruitment and selection process, staff are supported by appropriate policies, procedures and good practice.

FSTP will not tolerate any form of unlawful discrimination, victimisation or bullying and harassment.

FSTP aim to promote a culture where both staff and apprentices feel encouraged and supported to challenge unacceptable behaviour at all levels.

2. Scope:

This policy covers:

  • All apprenticeships offered by FSTP. · All employees and consultants involved in the delivery of apprenticeships and training.
  • All employers who employ an apprentice.
  • All apprentices.

3. Aims:

The aim of this policy is to ensure that, throughout their training programme, all apprentices are treated fairly, they feel safe and they are treated with fairness, equality and integrity.

This policy will be used in conjunction with our Safer Recruitment Policy and will always comply with current legislative requirements.

4. Definitions:

Equality
Equality is not about treating everyone the same, it is about ensuring that access to opportunities is available to all by taking account of differing needs and capabilities.

Diversity
Diversity is about recognising and valuing differences through inclusion, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial origin, religion, belief, sexual orientation, perspectives, opinions and personal values.

Inclusion
Inclusion is about providing equal access to opportunities and resources, for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalised.

Discrimination
The Equality Act (2010) expands upon previous definitions of discrimination and circumstances in which this may arise as follows:

  • Direct Discrimination – occurs when someone is treated less favourably than another person because of a protected characteristic they have or are thought to have.
  • Discrimination by Association – occurs if someone is treated less favourably because of their association with another person who has a protected characteristic.
  • Discrimination by Perception – if someone is treated less favourably because they are mistakenly thought to have a protected characteristic.
  • Indirect Discrimination – may occur when someone applies an apparently neutral provision, criterion or practice which puts those sharing a protected characteristic at a disadvantage.

Harassment
The Equality Act (2010) defines harassment as “unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual”.

The definition above enables individuals to complain of behaviour that they find offensive, even if it is not directed at them and the complainant need not possess the relevant protected characteristic themselves.

Third Party Harassment
The Equality Act makes FSTP potentially liable for harassment of its apprentices and staff by third parties such as apprentices, employers, visitors etc. This could arise when harassment has occurred and FSTP has been made fully aware of this on previous occasions, but reasonable steps have not been taken to prevent it from happening again.

Victimisation
Victimisation occurs when an individual is treated unfairly or unreasonably because they have made or supported a complaint, raised a grievance under the Equality Act 2010, or because they are

suspected of doing so. An individual is not protected from victimisation if they have maliciously made or supported an untrue complaint.

Age
The Equality Act 2010 protects people of all ages. However, different treatment because of age is not unlawful direct or indirect discrimination, if it can be justified i.e. if it can be demonstrated that it is a proportionate means of meeting a legitimate aim. Age is the only protected characteristic that allows employers to justify direct discrimination.

Disability
The Equality Act 2010 has made it easier for a person to show that they are disabled and protected from disability discrimination. Under the Act, a person is disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, which would include things like using a telephone, reading a book or using public transport.

The Equality Act 2010 puts a duty on an employer to make reasonable adjustments for employees, consultants or service users to help them overcome disadvantage resulting from an impairment (e.g. by providing assistive technologies to help visually impaired staff use computers effectively).

The Equality Act 2010 includes a new protection from discrimination arising from disability. It is discrimination to treat a disabled person unfavourably because of something connected with their disability (e.g. a tendency to make spelling mistakes arising from dyslexia).

This type of discrimination is unlawful where the employer or other person acting for the employer knows, or could reasonably be expected to know, that the person has a disability.

This type of discrimination is only justifiable if an employer can show that it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

Additionally, indirect discrimination now covers disabled people. This means that a job applicant, employee or consultant could claim that a rule or requirement, that an employer has in place, disadvantages people with the same disability. Unless this could be justified, it would be unlawful.

The Equality Act 2010 also includes a new provision which makes it unlawful, except in certain circumstances, for employers to ask about a candidate’s health before offering them work.

Gender Reassignment
The Equality Act 2010 provides protection for individuals who propose to, starts or has completed, a process to change his or her gender.

The Equality Act 2010 no longer requires a person to be under medical supervision to be protected – so a woman who decides to live as a man but does not undergo any medical procedures would be protected.

It is discrimination to treat people less favourably for being absent from work because they propose to undergo, are undergoing or have undergone gender reassignment than they would be treated if they were absent because they were ill or injured.

Marriage and Civil Partnership
The Equality Act 2010 protects individuals who are married or in a civil partnership against discrimination. Single people are not protected.

Pregnancy and Maternity
A woman is protected against discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy and maternity during the period of her pregnancy and any statutory maternity leave to which she is entitled. During this period, pregnancy and maternity discrimination cannot be treated as sex discrimination.

An employer must not consider an employee or consultant’s period of absence due to pregnancy-related illness when deciding about her employment.

Race
For the purposes of the Equality Act 2010 ‘race’ includes colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins.

Religion and Belief
In the Equality Act 2010, religion includes any religion. It also includes a lack of religion, in other words individuals are protected if they have no religion at all.

Religion need not be mainstream or well known to gain protection but must have a clear structure and belief system.

Denominations or sects within a religion can be considered a protected religion or religious belief.

Belief means any religious or philosophical belief or a lack of such belief.

To be protected under the Equality Act 2010 a belief must satisfy various criteria, including that it is a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour and not just an opinion.

Discrimination because of religion or belief can occur even where both the discriminator and recipient are of the same religion or belief.

Gender
Applies to both men and women, and both are equally protected under the Equality Act 2010.

Sexual Orientation
Sexual orientation is a protected characteristic. It means a person’s sexual orientation towards:

  • Persons of the same sex (homosexual, lesbian, gay).
  • Persons of the opposite sex (heterosexual).
  • Persons of either sex (bisexual).

Gender reassignment is a separate protected characteristic and unrelated to sexual orientation – despite a common misunderstanding that the two characteristics are related.

5. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Principles:

  • All apprentices and staff will know that FSTP have policies in place to ensure they are treated fairly and that FSTP regularly reviews its systems to ensure they are effective and appropriate.
  • Regular training will take place to ensure all staff understand their responsibilities as a main apprenticeship provider. This will take place initially as part of the induction and then annually, or sooner should we feel that individuals require further support to enhance their understanding.
  • All apprentices and staff understand the importance of valuing and respecting difference.
  • All apprentices, staff and employers recognise their responsibility for treating others fairly.
  • All training material developed by FSTP is reviewed to ensure that the values of equality and diversity are embedded.
  • All training material developed by FSTP is reviewed to ensure that the values of respect and inclusion are embedded.
  • All staff know how to report an equality, diversity and inclusion complaint.
  • All reported equality, diversity and inclusion complaints are reviewed and acted upon by the Head of Regulatory Sales and Apprenticeships.
  • FSTP will consider any actual or potential risks that could impact upon an apprentice’s ability to complete their apprenticeship. This will apply to any apprentice through direct intervention, advice and guidance and/or signposting, also considering welfare needs.

All apprentices will be provided with information, electronically, about our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy once they have had their induction onto a programme. This policy will also be readily available on our website.

6. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Provision:

FSTP provides the following equality, diversity and inclusion support and provision:

  • Taking proactive actions to protect the apprentices and staff.
  • Considering the policy and suitability for the role when recruiting new staff.
  • Promoting the policy to all staff, apprentices and employers.
  • Promoting our commitment to all staff, apprentices and employers.
  • Training all new staff members to implement the policy.
  • Providing welfare support to the apprentice and staff in the event of a complaint.

7. Complaints:

All complaints of discrimination, harassment or bullying will be treated seriously and dealt with promptly, efficiently and (where possible) in confidence. The aim of the procedure is to resolve complaints of discrimination, harassment or bullying swiftly and confidentially.

Any apprentice, employee or consultant may use the complaints procedure if they believe they have been treated unfavourably, in contravention of the Equality Act 2010 and this Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy, on the grounds of gender, pregnancy or maternity, trans-gender status, sexual orientation, marital, civil partnership or family status, race, religion, belief, political opinion, age or disability. It may also be that they have witnessed any form of discrimination.

Any apprentice, employee or consultant, who believes they have been the victim of discriminatory treatment, or who has witnessed discrimination or harassment, may choose to take informal or formal action.

Informal Action
Where possible the apprentice, employee or consultant should talk directly and informally to the person they believe has discriminated against them and explain their objection. It may be that the person whose conduct is causing offence is genuinely unaware that their behaviour is unwelcome or objectionable.

If the apprentice, employee or consultant feels unable to approach the person or if they have already done so without any resolution, they may elect to raise a formal complaint to the Apprenticeship Senior Management Team (ASMT). Alternatively, the complaint can be raised with the Apprenticeship Manager who will try to assist the apprentice, employee or consultant to find an appropriate solution to the problem.

Formal Action
The apprentice, employee or consultant may raise the complaint in writing for the attention of:

Head of Regulatory Sales and Apprenticeships – Philippa Grocott

Email: philippagrocott@fstp.co.uk

Address: FSTP, Acorn House, 393 Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes, MK9 3HP.

The complainant must identify the person who is alleged to have perpetrated discriminatory treatment and give specific examples of actions, or conduct, that the apprentice, employee or consultant believes constitutes discrimination.

In the event of serious allegations, FSTP will consider whether to suspend the alleged perpetrator to prevent any further contact between parties until the matter can be fully dealt with.

An investigation will be conducted and will be handled with due respect to the rights of the complainant and alleged perpetrator.

Both parties will be interviewed separately, where they will be provided with the opportunity to state their side of events and explain any conduct that forms the basis of the apprentice, employee or consultant’s complaint.

If following the investigation, the complaint is founded then suitable and proportionate action will be taken promptly to remedy the discrimination and prevent any recurrence.

The organisation regards all forms of discrimination as gross misconduct (except unintentional behaviour of a mild nature) and any apprentice, employee or consultant found guilty of this behaviour will be liable to proportionate disciplinary measures, up to and including summary dismissal.

Disciplinary measures will also be taken against any apprentice, employee or consultant who is found to have made a deliberately false or malicious complaint of discrimination.

8. Responsibilities:

Overall responsibility for implementation and overseeing this policy rests with the ASMT.

The ASMT are responsible for ensuring that FSTP complies with equalities legislation, promotes equality of opportunity and promotes diversity throughout the organisation.

The Apprenticeship Manager is responsible for developing an open and inclusive culture in which apprentices, employees and consultants feel able and are encouraged to report any incidents of discrimination, harassment and bullying in the workplace.

Managers are expected to actively support apprentices, employees and consultants making a complaint and ensure that any such allegations are fully and thoroughly investigated and dealt with appropriately.

The ASMT and managers will be responsible for ensuring that awareness is raised with third parties, that harassment will not be tolerated, that complaints of discrimination and harassment will be investigated and action taken against offenders found guilty of such, as appropriate to protect apprentices, employees and consultants from further occurrences.

The ASMT and managers will also be responsible for setting high standards of equality, diversity and inclusion in FSTP workplaces and for ensuring that all apprentices, employees and consultants are aware of the requirements of this policy and that it is applied fairly, rigorously and consistently.

Every FSTP member of staff carries personal responsibility for their own behaviour at work and for ensuring that this policy is translated into practice in all areas of employment and service provision.

All staff have a duty to report any incidents of discrimination, harassment or bullying that come to their attention, and to take part in any investigation into such allegations, to support FSTP in the development of a culture in which apprentices, employees and consultants feel able and supported to report such concerns and have them fairly and robustly addressed.

FSTP gives an assurance that there will be no victimisation against an apprentice, employee or consultant making a genuine complaint in good faith, or against any apprentice, employee or consultant who assists or supports colleagues or peers in making such a complaint

9. Additional Policies

Apprentices should also be aware of the policies relating to the Awarding Organisation (CII, CISI, LIBF and/or Open Awards) and End Point Assessment Organisation (NOCN) within their apprenticeship programme.

CII policies

CISI policies

LIBF policies

Open Awards policies

NOCN policies

This policy has been approved by:

(Senior Manager/Director/CEO, with overall responsibility for apprenticeship delivery):

Name: Philippa Grocott
Job title: Head of Regulatory Sales and Apprenticeships
Date approved: 25/10/2021
Signature:

Next planned policy review date: April 2022 (unless required sooner)