Having had, an admittedly quick, read of the Wood Commission’s interim findings it’s a bit disappointing that there are no recommendations to tackle gender segregation in workplaces and modern apprenticeships or low employment rates for people from BME communities and people with disabilities.
Wood Commission’s interim report offer recommendations on the “educational offer to young people“ with the next session on employer’s support still to come. The recommendations are somewhat predictable, schools and colleges to develop better links with local businesses, and more focus on economic development. Nothing new here: businesses want the public sector to ensure young people are ready to become workers.
What is disappointing though, is that tackling inequality does not appear to be core to the commission’s thinking. The foreword says that “An appropriate title for our school/college vocational initiative would be ""attainment for all", enriching school education with clearer and more open routes for all young people,” but we will have to wait for the second half of the study to find out their the results of their plan to “look to make meaningful recommendations to improve employment outcomes in relation to gender, disability and ethnicity.” The issues Scotland’s people face from discrimination on the grounds of gender, disability and ethnicity should have been central to this report. Allowing discrimination to prevent people reaching their potential and so contributing most to our society and economy should have been to use the jargon “mainstreamed” into the commission’s work.
The fact that the interim report only mentions gender in order to park it for another section does not fill me with much confidence about their recommendations. Equalities issues need to run through all of the work done to improve workforce development; they are not a separate issue.