Equality and Diversity

Equality and Diversity

The University is fully committed to the principles of equality and inclusion. We celebrate the diversity of our staff and students and recognise the clear benefits that this brings to the University.

We have a range of equality and diversity initiatives, which aim to:

  • Champion a culture of respect and dignity
  • Create an environment where all staff and students can achieve their potential
  • Foster understanding between individuals and teams
  • Celebrate the vibrant diversity on campus
  • Create networks which nurture, encourage and champion change
  • Uphold the principles of fairness and inclusivity
  • Promote tolerance

Our Equality and Diversity Policy statement and code for staff and students promotes a culture of dignity and respect, where all staff and students are encouraged and supported to realise their potential.

The University is proud to hold an Athena SWAN Bronze award which recognises the initiatives we are implementing to support women to achieve their career aspirations across the University. Our International Women’s Day celebrations have been exceptionally well-received and have provided a significant opportunity to showcase the talents of our staff and students. We are also active Stonewall Diversity Champions and have made significant progress in equality for our LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) staff and students. The University’s Staff LGBT Network Group was shortlisted for the award of Best Network Group by the Equality Network in Scotland.

We have established a range of internal networks which assist the University in shaping policy and developing an inclusive culture.

Guaranteed Interview Scheme

The University operates a voluntary Guaranteed Interview Scheme for disabled applicants. This means that disabled candidates will be guaranteed an interview if they meet the essential criteria (as specified in the Person Specification) of the post. If you consider yourself to have a disability and you would like to apply for a post within the University, you have the opportunity to opt in to the Scheme.

If you are a disabled applicant who would like to opt in to the Scheme, please check the relevant box within the application form. If required, the University will make reasonable adjustments to facilitate your attendance and full participation at interview. Please let us know your requirements as soon as possible by completing the relevant section of the online application.

Project Search

Project SEARCH is a one-year Internship programme, based on an international model which originated in the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in the USA, supporting young people with additional needs to gain skills and experience to go on to employment. Project SEARCH Aberdeen commenced in September 2013 and is hosted by the University (on our King’s College campus). It is delivered in partnership with North East Scotland College, Inspire (Partnership Through Life), Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council and the Scottish Consortium for Learning Disabilities (SCLD).

The programme enables twelve Interns per year to receive support to undertake three work placements within the University, whilst studying to attain a vocational qualification. Upon graduation, the Interns receive support to source and sustain paid employment and at the end of the first year of the project, 11 out of 12 graduates gained employment within the Grampian area. The programme is delivered entirely on the University of Aberdeen campus, with the main base of operations being the Project SEARCH classroom in the King’s Pavilion. This complete immersion in the workplace ensures that the participants receive a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration and on-the-job training and support.

Project SEARCH Aberdeen recruits 12 Interns per year and the programme runs from the beginning of September until the end of June. If you require any further information, please contact Mrs Heather Crabb, Employer Partner Coordinator.

Athena SWAN

The Athena SWAN Charter was developed by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to combating the underrepresentation of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM), and advancing the careers of women in STEMM research and academia. In May 2015 the Charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women. The Charter now recognises work supporting and embedding equality in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students.

The University of Aberdeen has been a proud member of the Athena SWAN Charter and has been committed to the Athena SWAN principles since 2011, working to ensure a diverse, inclusive and empowering work and study atmosphere for staff and students. In 2012, the University was awarded, and still currently holds, the prestigious Athena SWAN Bronze award, which recognises our ongoing commitment to the advancement and promotion of careers and personal development of women in STEMM.

The University of Aberdeen's continued commitment to the principles of Athena SWAN will have the following positive impacts:

  • The creation of a diverse and empowered community
  • A positive working environment for all staff, researchers and students
  • Attracting and retaining high-calibre staff, researchers and students
Individual University Schools benefit further by establishing action plans tailored to their staff and research needs:
  • Combating equality and diversity issues that may be unique to the field/department
  • Establishing good working practices, staff development and flexible working
  • Facilitating the creation of a working environment conducive to world-leading research
  • Some funding bodies require evidence of actions addressing gender inequality in research

The process of having staff and students involved in the Departmental SATs ensures voices are heard and local changes are made. A dedicated Athena SWAN team work to ensure the Athena SWAN principles are embedded across the University and offer support to Schools and Departments with Athena SWAN actions and submissions.

A Welcome for All Staff

The University has established a number of Network Groups to support and encourage staff and to provide opportunities to share ideas to improve outcomes for all groups of staff and students.

Staff LGBT Network

The University established a staff LGBT Network Group in 2013. The Network is self-managing and runs a variety of events and engagement opportunities. The Chair comments:

It is recognised that people often perform at their best when they work in an environment where they can be comfortably open and honest about their personal life, rather than having to devote effort to hide or neutralise their relationships. Some reports suggest employees who are “out” at work are 10% more engaged than those who are not. It is essential for any forward-thinking organisation to ensure they are appropriately supporting their LGBT staff.

The creation of the LGBT Network Group at the University of Aberdeen has been a significant step forward in supporting these staff and will also improve the profile of the University when marketing to, and recruiting from, the LGBT community. We are grateful to the Equality & Diversity team for establishing the group, which is now being run by a small committee of volunteers, drawn from across the University. LGBT policy at the University.

The committee members are committed to enhancing the opportunities for all LGBT staff & students at the University, as well as so called “straight allies”, and as part of this are preparing an action plan to address areas for improvement noted in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index. We are committed to make this a great place to work for all staff and ensuring the needs of LGBT staff are respected and accommodated.

Staff Disability Network Group

The University is striving to ensure that all staff have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Disabled staff have the opportunity to join a Network Group which aims to provide an informal forum for exchanging ideas for improvements and to contribute to the development of University policies and procedures. The Group welcomes speakers and organises other events.

Gender Networks

There are a number of Networks across the University which seek to ensure that the particular issues which women or men may face in the workplace are explored.

Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005

The Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 was passed by the Scottish Parliament with a view to securing the status of the Gaelic language as an official language of Scotland commanding equal respect to the English language.

One of the key features of the 2005 Act is the provision enabling Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the national public body responsible for the preservation of Gaelic, to require public bodies to prepare Gaelic Language Plans. This provision was designed to ensure that the public sector in Scotland plays its part in creating a sustainable future for Gaelic by raising its status and profile and creating practical opportunities for its use.

Through its Gaelic Language Plan, the University looks to contribute to the national effort to put in place the necessary structures and initiatives to ensure that Gaelic has a sustainable future. The University’s Gaelic Language Plan was launched on 26 April 2013. Any queries can be directed to gaelicplan@abdn.ac.uk