Scottish Parliament launches ‘Emerging Leaders’ programme to increase minority ethnic diversity amongst Holyrood staff


The Scottish Parliament today launches its ‘Emerging Leaders’ programme to improve minority ethnic diversity and seniority amongst Holyrood staff.

In a dual approach, the initiative aims to develop existing minority ethnic talent within the organisation and seeks to attract future employees from a wider range of backgrounds.

While the diversity of MSPs increased at the 2021 Scottish Election, diversity monitoring within the Parliament found minority ethnic staff were under-represented in its staff group compared to the national population, along with an ethnicity pay gap.

The new scheme will help develop the leadership skills of existing staff, while a paid internship programme for 18 to 29 year olds aims to promote the Parliament’s profile as an employer for people from black and minority ethnic communities.

Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone MSP said:

“We now have a Parliament of MSPs that better reflects the diversity of Scotland.  It’s fundamentally important however that the talented staff who make the Scottish Parliament function also reflect the diversity of our country, and further progress must be made on that front.

“I wholeheartedly welcome the Emerging Leaders programme and the steps being taken to improve ethnic diversity at all levels of seniority within the Scottish Parliament.” 


Strand 1 – existing staff

Run in conjunction with Edinburgh College and the Scottish Association of Minority Ethnic Educators (SAMEE), the Emerging Leaders programme will support existing parliament staff to develop their leadership skills. The programme will run until early 2022, and have 12 participants.

Strand 2 – paid internships for 18 to 29 years olds

Run in conjunction with the John Smith Centre, paid internships will be offered at Holyrood for minority ethnic people between the ages of 18-29 to help develop participants’ skills and expose them to opportunities working in the public sector in Scotland. The parliament will take on four interns for nine months each, between now and November 2022.

Find out more about the internship scheme being run by the John Smith Centre and other employers taking part here:

The Scottish Parliament’s most recent Diversity Monitoring and Pay Gaps Report is available online here:


Media information

Greg Black: 0131 348 6266

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[email protected]



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