In the past apprenticeships had the reputation for being very male-dominated, with women tending to go down other routes. Women often were expected to go into the sectors of childcare, beauty, or hairdressing. These stereotypes often discouraged women from pursuing careers in male-dominated areas and this led to huge gender splits.
Today, thankfully, we have moved on from these archaic ideals, and women now make up 50% of all apprentices. However, there is still a very low percentage of women in fields such as construction, electro-technical, and vehicle sectors. Women are often outnumbered in engineering where there are 25 male apprentices for every one female apprentice.
There is also a pay divide between the genders in apprenticeships and it still continues to rise. On average female apprentices earn £2000 less a year than their male counterparts.
One company that has made great strides in creating a more equal system is British Gas. They are encouraging female employees into their apprenticeships and working to change their company culture. One employee from British Gas stated ‘working in a male-dominated role is absolutely fine. I was slightly nervous at first and worried that I wouldn’t be accepted, but that wasn’t the case. All of my colleagues, male and female, have a really good attitude to their work and aren’t concerned with what gender I am.’ British gas has worked with employees to create a work environment for everyone. They do not want there to be any gender bias or inequality within their workforce.
It’s a face that fewer women enter competitions than men. Some lack the confidence to compete in male-dominated events, others aren’t as competitive, and there are a whole host of other reasons for this. If women see more of their female colleagues entering competitions, they may feel more comfortable. Employers need to be encouraging their female and male staff to get involved and showcase their ideas.
There are very few part-time programmes; only 1 in 10 apprentices work under 30 hours a week. This can often be a barrier for women especially women with childcare responsibilities. They may need to spend more time away from work and if they’re working over 30 hours a week it is just not possible. Offering part-time courses will open up your apprenticeships to women and create more gender diversity.
Often people don’t even realise they’re doing it, but people often tend to favour male applicants over female ones, especially in apprenticeships. This can be even if they have the same qualifications. This is because if they are hiring someone for a rather physical role most employers tend to lean toward men due to them being perceived as stronger. So, a great way to stop this is by covering the names of the applicants when reviewing their cv. This allows you to judge them based on the qualifications alone.
Having online apprenticeships are a great way to expand on gaining apprentices, this will allow your staff to have further flexibility to work anywhere at any time. This will help female apprentices with children work on creating a realistic schedule. It will allow them to work in a way that suits them, whether they’re at work or at home.
Apprenticeships are moving in the right direction in creating equality, there are many more things that can be done to create gender equality in apprenticeships. However, we are definitely on the right track.
- Bring role models into schools and colleges, especially women who work in non-traditional roles
- Develop work experience opportunities that allow women to gain hands-on experience. This will allow them to feel more comfortable applying for roles they may not have considered in the past.
- Develop short programmes that allow all students to sample different types of apprenticeships no matter their gender or age.
- Encourage school and colleges to work with employers to ensure teacher and career guidance practitioners are up to date with their knowledge of apprenticeships.
It is argued that combining these methods could encourage more students and hopefully more women to apply for apprenticeships and start a career through this route.
There has been a great change made to help women in apprenticeships, we need to continue working on reducing any gender inequality there may be in the apprenticeship schemes. Apprenticeships with Capital 4 Training aim to fit anyone no matter the gender, we want to complete gender diversity. If you want to know more about the apprenticeships, we offer to get in touch today. We can work together to find an apprenticeship that will fit your needs.