§ 102. Mr. McAvoy
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how his Department intends to encourage equal opportunities in the workplace.
§ Mr. Nicholls
Employment Department Ministers take every opportunity to emphasise to employers the importance of equal opportunities in the workplace and the need to treat people on their merits regardless of their race, colour, sex, age, disability, etc.
My Department's jobcentres and the Training Agency make equal opportunities a priority. Jobcentres have an important role both in advising people who feel they have suffered discrimination of their right to complain to an industrial tribunal and in challenging employers who notify potentially discriminatory vacancies to jobcentres.
The Training Agency's recent publication "Defusing the Demographic Time Bomb" which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State launched on 24 October will help to promote the need to develop all the work force.
The Training Agency also provides special training for ethnic minorities and for women to encourage them to enter industries and occupations in which they are under-represented, and part-time and flexible training courses which can be particularly helpful to women returning to work after time at home looking after their families, lone parents and disabled people.
My Department's race relations employment advisory service provides a free advisory, consultancy and training service to help employers implement effective equal opportunity policies within a multi-racial work force. Priority is advising on the CRE 1984 code of practice's recommendations to employers on the implementation of equal opportunity policies and promoting the use of the positive action provisions of the Race Relations Act.