Our Commitment

VQ Solutions Ltd believes that diversity in our society is a strength and that we must work towards equality and social inclusion for all people in our community.

We accept our educational responsibility to the community to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to acquire and share the skills, knowledge and qualifications to lead a fulfilling life.

We are particularly concerned to recruit and support people who do not have traditional links with further education and to provide a second chance for educational and vocational achievement to the widest possible range of people

We are aware that certain groups and individuals can face prejudice and exclusion, particularly because of issues related to gender, age, race, religion, disability, class, sexual orientation or culture.

It is for these reasons that we have developed a set of policies to ensure that all members of VQ Solutions Ltd community are equally valued and treated with respect.

These are:

  • Race, Cultural and Religious Equality
  • Gender Equality
  • Sexual Orientation Equality
  • Disability Equality
  • Age equality
  • Policy on Harassment and Bullying

Racial & Cultural Equality Background

People from ethnic minority backgrounds makeup over 10% of the population of our region .and make an invaluable contribution to its economy and culture. Yet they are not well represented in management posts and there is evidence that they face discrimination both open and hidden when applying for jobs.

In order to prevent such discrimination, The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 placed the following general duties on all public bodies:

  • To eliminate unlawful race discrimination
  • To promote equality of opportunity
  • To promote good relations between people from different racial groups

We also have the following specific duties:

  • To prepare a written statement of its policy for promoting race equality
  • To put in place arrangements for implementing the policy, publicising its contents and the results of the monitoring of its effectiveness
  • To assess the impact of its policies on students and staff of different racial groups
  • To monitor, by racial groups, the admission and progress of students and the recruitment and career progress of staff

Meeting Our Duties

We will ensure that:

  •  Directors, staff, learners and their sponsors (including work placement providers) are aware of our racial equality policy and the action needed for its implementation
  • Staff, learners and their sponsors (including work placement providers) are aware of the value we place upon equal opportunity and that action will be taken in the event of any breach of the policy
  • Directors and staff have access to enough information to help them to plan, implement and monitor actions to carry out their responsibilities under the policy
  • VQ Solutions Ltd’s publicity materials present appropriate and positive messages about minority ethnic groups
  • Schemes of work, lesson content and teaching resources demonstrate sensitivity to, and include positive images of, issues of cultural diversity
  • Learners from ethnic minorities have access to appropriate support and facilities
  • Applicants for employment are drawn from a wide pool with positive action being undertaken to encourage applications from under-represented groups
  • Recruitment and promotion procedures are designed to eliminate cultural bias
  • Staff development schemes are designed to meet the particular needs and enhance the skills of under-represented ethnic groups

Monitoring Our Progress

To inform the setting of targets and the measurement of our progress in achieving them, we will collect and analyse the following information by ethnic origin:

For learners

  • Ethnic profiles of learners
  • Applications, and success and failure rates for admission to programmes
  • Retention rates
  • Achievement rates
  • Disciplinary action
  • Complaints by learners or their sponsors
  • Satisfaction surveys
  • Internal audit of teaching and learning

For employees

  • Ethnic profiles of employees by grade and type of work
  • Job application rates
  • Selection success rates
  • Type of contract (permanent, temporary)
  • Promotion application and success rates
  • Disciplinary proceeding
  • Grievances
  • Satisfaction surveys.

Publicising Our Policy and Progress

To the public (including learners, work placement providers and staff)

Our commitment to racial equality will be highlighted in our marketing material.

To learners

  • All learners will receive a summary of the policy. Copies of the policy will be available in the learning resources and student support centres
  • The induction programme will explain discrimination and ensure that learners know what action to take if they suffer it. VQ Solutions rules of conduct will be emphasised
  • Student tutors will reinforce this information throughout the course.

To Employers

  • All employers will receive a summary of their responsibilities under the policy and will signify their understanding and agreement to them
  • Employers will be offered free training on Equal Opportunity issues
  • VQ Solutions staff will promote the recruitment of learners from underrepresented groups to providers

To Staff

  • The policy will be available on Stedfast
  • The induction programme will highlight our commitment to racial equality, action to be taken by staff and learners who suffer discrimination and
    the action to be taken against any perpetrators of discrimination

Division of Responsibilities

Directors are responsible for ensuring that:

  • VQ Solutions Ltd’s strategic plan includes a commitment to race equality
  • They receive and respond to the ethnic monitoring information on learners and staff

Managers and partners are responsible for ensuring that:

  • They are aware of VQ Solutions Ltd’s statutory duties in relation to race and ethnicity legislation.
  • All aspects of VQ Solutions policy and activity are sensitive to race and ethnicity issues
  • Ethnic monitoring information is collected and analysed.
  • Targets are set on the recruitment, retention and achievement of learners based upon the analysis of the ethnic monitoring information
  • Teaching observation reports include criteria on race and ethnicity issues
  • Internal verification procedures include scrutiny of race and ethnicity issues
  • Curriculum areas are required to assess performance in relation to race and ethnicity issues and action taken as appropriate
  • The procedures for the recruitment and promotion of staff follow best practice in equal opportunities
  • Targets are set on the recruitment and promotion of staff based upon the analysis of the ethnic monitoring information

VQ Solutions Ltd’s publicity materials present appropriate and positive messages about minority ethnic groups

Learner induction programmes and tutorial programmes reflect VQ Solutions Ltd’s commitment to promote equality of opportunity Staff are responsible for ensuring that:

  • They are aware of VQ Solutions Ltd’s statutory duties in relation to race and ethnicity legislation.
  • Their schemes of work, lesson content and teaching resources demonstrate sensitivity to issues of cultural diversity
  • They challenge inappropriate behaviour by either learners, work placement providers or other members of staff

Gender Equality


Women make up over 50% of the workforce yet they remain clustered in low paid work areas and are still not well represented at higher management levels. We believe that education has an important part to play in helping women to play their full role in our society, particularly in the areas of science and technology and our policy describes our intentions in this area.

Because of the nature of this VQ Solutions, discrimination against men has never been an issue. However, we recognise that men also can suffer discrimination and will make sure that any policies introduced to improve the position of women will not go against men.

Division of responsibilities

Directors are responsible for ensuring that:

  • They aim to have a balance of gender in recruiting staff
  • VQ Solutions Ltd’s strategic plan includes a commitment to gender equality
  • They receive and respond to the gender monitoring information on learners and staff

Managers and partners have responsibilities to:

  • Actively encourage applications by women for advertised posts, .particularly in areas where women are underrepresented.
  • Ensure that no sexual discrimination occurs when promoting staff.
  • Treat sexual harassment as a serious, disciplinary matter.
  • Treat caring responsibilities sympathetically
  • Promote flexible working practices
  • Continue to encourage female learners into non-traditional vocational areas
  • Ensure that VQ Solutions Ltd and its courses are genuinely accessible to all women.
  • Target women through liaison with schools and through community projects
  • Present positive images of both women and men in all VQ Solutions promotional material.
  • Offer support and counselling to any learner male or female who may be isolated in a class of students of the opposite gender
  • Support young women on work placements
  • Make all work placement employers aware of our policies.
  • Have clear guidelines for dealing with sexual harassment
  • Create a physically safe, non-threatening environment in which women feel comfortable

All members of staff are responsible for ensuring that they:

  • treat colleagues equally and fairly
  • avoid stereotyping people’s abilities according to gender

In addition, tutors should:

  • Create a safe learning environment free from sexual harassment
  • Use teaching materials that are gender neutral or that present positive images of both males and females.
  • Use inclusive teaching methods
  • Challenge sexist attitudes and behaviour
  • Make students aware of VQ Solutions policies

Monitoring Our Progress

We will collect and review gender information as for race and ethnicity

Sexual Orientation


In our society, there is still a great deal of cultural prejudice and discrimination against people whose sexual orientation differs from the norm. Even when new laws are introduced, it will still be necessary for educational organisations such as ours to help overcome cultural prejudice.

Managers and partners have the following responsibilities:

  • Treat homophobic behaviour as a serious disciplinary matter
  • Ensure that there is no discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in both appointments and /or promotion

All members of staff are responsible for ensuring that they:

  • Treat colleagues equally and fairly
  • Avoid bias towards people of different sexual orientation
  • Challenge homophobic behaviour and attitudes.

In addition, staff should:

  • Challenge homophobic attitudes and behaviour
  • Make students aware of VQ Solutions policies

Age Policy

Around 1 in 4 people aged between 50 and 59 have experienced age discrimination either at work or when looking for work. People who become redundant past the age of 45 find it increasingly difficult to gain re-employment that uses their experience and skills

At the other end of the age scale, around 8 out of 10 young people believe that age discrimination is widespread, for example in job advertisements that ask for several years experience or for a ‘ mature’ person. It is important that ageism is tackled at both ends of the age scale so that people regardless of age can achieve their full professional and career potential.

VQ Solutions Managers and partners will ensure that:

  • No person is excluded by reason of age from a job that they are capable of undertaking
  • No person is excluded by reason of age from a programme of study from which they can benefit
  • VQ Solutions Ltd environment is appropriate for all age groups.

Teaching staff will ensure that:

  • They are aware of possible differences in learning styles and employ appropriate teaching methods when teaching older learners
  • They create a learning environment in which older people feel welcome.

Harassment & Bullying

All forms of harassment and bullying can damage the victim's health and the ability to work effectively. In addition, such behaviour undermines the efficiency of VQ Solutions Ltd by creating an atmosphere of unease and mistrust. For these reasons, such behaviour will not be tolerated within VQ Solutions Ltd.

Harassment or bullying of any learner or staff member, whether based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability or learning difficulties, is a serious disciplinary offence and may in some cases be regarded as gross misconduct.

Managers and partners are responsible for ensuring that:

  • There is a supportive environment in which individuals feel able to challenge unacceptable behaviour.
  • There are clear procedures for dealing with harassment and bullying
  • All staff and students are made aware of VQ Solutions policies on harassment and bullying
  • All workplace providers and suppliers are made aware of VQ Solutions policies on harassment and bullying
  • Complaints are dealt with in a consistent manner
  • Complaints are handled with tact, sympathy and speed.
  • There are contact people with whom the person claiming harassment/ bullying can discuss their situation.
  • Alleged offenders are given a fair hearing.
  • Conciliation and voluntary change of behaviour are the preferred outcomes of any complaint.
  • Disciplinary procedures take place if appropriate.
  • People wearing racist badges are denied entry into VQ Solutions Ltd
  • Racist groups are reported to the police.

Staff are responsible for ensuring that

  • They monitor their conduct and language to eliminate discriminatory remarks and practices.
  • They recognise that Discriminatory conduct or remarks are not acceptable even if intended to be friendly or humorous,
  • They challenge such behaviour among learners and make it clear that VQ Solutions Ltd finds it unacceptable for students to act or speak in a way that is offensive to another person because of his/her gender, appearance, sexual orientation, age, race, colour or creed.
  • They work to diffuse tensions and promote understanding in mixed groups but also are not afraid to invoke disciplinary procedures when necessary
  • Their learners know how to complain if harassed or bullied
  • They avoid inappropriately intimate relationships and private meetings with learners that could be misinterpreted by the learner or by other members of the group.

Examples of different kinds of harassment and bullying

  • Racial Harassment:
  • Racist name-calling, joke making, offensive gestures
  • Excluding a person from group meetings, withholding information, ostracising
  • Expression of racial prejudice or deliberate misinformation on ethnic or racial differences
  • Racist graffiti.
  • Distributing racist literature.
  • Wearing badges or insignia of political organisations known to promote racial prejudice
  • Physical assault or the threat of it.
  • Harassment on the grounds of Sexual Orientation
  • Jokes/innuendo about the person’s sexuality
  • Ostracising the person, for example, arranging group outings or meetings without them
  • Attempts to persuade the person that his/her sexuality is misguided, ‘unnatural’ or immoral.
  • Attempts to persuade colleagues of the above

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is any sexual advance, sexually discriminating remark sexually explicit insult, request for sexual favours, contact of a sexual nature that is unacceptable to the person approached
Harassment of a person with a disability or learning difficulty.

This may be defined as any hostile or offensive act or statement when the motivation is to devalue the worth or restrict the opportunities of an individual.


Bullying is defined as persistent, offensive, abusive, intimidating, malicious behaviour. Examples include:

  • Persistent criticism
  • Persistent failure to acknowledge a person’s contribution
  • Abuse of power through threats of demotion/ dismissal etc
  • Personal abuse

Dealing with complaints.

  1. Contact a member of management team in order to talk over your problem in confidence. He/she will advise you how to proceed. If you prefer, report the matter to your line manager.
    NB VQ Solutions management must be immediately involved if: i) the incident is serious
    ii) the alleged harasser is a senior member of staff.
  2. Conciliation - At the first stage, the aim will be to solve the problem by conciliation- by airing the situation in front of witnesses and trying to reach a satisfactory outcome.
  3. Formal Procedures - If no satisfactory resolution can be reached, then the complaint will become a formal complaint to be dealt with in line with VQ Solutions Ltd disciplinary procedures.

N.B. Formal procedures will be invoked immediately if:

i) the incident is serious, or
ii) a senior member of staff is involved.

Definitions of Legislation

Direct discrimination: treating a person less favourably on grounds as set out above.

Indirect discrimination: imposing requirements or conditions that whether intentionally or not, adversely affect an individual or group and cannot be justified in terms of job or course requirements.

Victimisation: treating a person differently or badly after s/he has complained of discrimination. The law treats this as a very serious offence.

Sexual Harassment: Unwanted conduct of a sexual nature.

Racial Harassment: Conduct intended to cause physical or mental distress to a person or group.

Positive Action: A legal provision which allows employers and training organisations to meet the needs of particular groups of people who are underrepresented in specific job areas. It is VQ Solutions policy to use positive action measures, which comply with the strict terms of the law.