Apprenticeships male dominated, say Scottish school leavers

School leavers believe apprenticeships involve manual labour and female jobs are in nursing, health and beauty and childcare

School leavers in Scotland could be missing out on potential apprenticeship opportunities because they believe that most jobs available to them are in so-called ‘traditional’ gender specific roles, according to new research by Prudential.
More than two thirds (68%) of 16 -18 year olds polled in Scotland believe most apprenticeship opportunities are in sectors characterised by largely male workforces such as construction, manufacturing, agriculture and IT, found the insurer’s nationwide study.
These views appear to be shared by parents too. A third (34%) believe apprenticeship opportunities are more suitable for boys, while just 7% think they are more suitable for girls.
It was also found that more than two thirds (67%) would encourage their sons to consider apprenticeships, and more than half would encourage their daughters to do the same.
Simon Moffatt, Human Resources Director at Prudential’s UK insurance business, said: “No one should miss out on an opportunity to further their career, education or training because of myths and misunderstandings. Clearly more can be done to get the message to students that apprenticeship opportunities now exist across 170 different industries in the UK and that there should not be any gender stereotypes when it comes to career choices.”
Each year, more than 25,500 people in Scotland become an apprentice, with roles available in more than 80 different types of apprenticeships covering hundreds of jobs across a wide range of industries. In 2016, 41% of apprentices in Scotland were female.
But the Prudential research suggests that students still believe there are more apprenticeships available in typically male oriented jobs (61%) and that most involve manual labour (62%). School leavers also believe that opportunities for women tend to be in sectors such as nursing, health and beauty and childcare (55%).
Katie Hutton, Director of National Training Programmes at Skills Development Scotland (SDS), said: “This survey shines a light on a wider societal issue reflected throughout employment and in education but for us there is no such thing as ‘jobs for boys and jobs for girls’ – a notion we are engaging with partners to address through the Modern Apprenticeship Equality Action Plan.
“More than 10,500 young women started a Modern Apprenticeship in Scotland last year. There are misconceptions about apprenticeships and outdated perceptions about traditional job roles in the wider labour market that influence people’s employment and educational subject choices.
“This drives much of our work and with new developments such as Foundation and Graduate Level Apprenticeships we aim to challenge traditional stereotypes and provide new and innovative pathways into different, high skilled sectors.
“We will continue to work with partners, teachers, parents and employers, such as Prudential, to dispel myths about gender and apprenticeships.”
Alongside its own apprenticeship programme, Prudential says it’s committed to supporting apprenticeships through its work with schools and SDS centres around the country to encourage young people to consider an apprenticeship as their first stepping stone to a successful career.
The Prudential 2017 apprenticeship programme will create opportunities for up to 21 young people who will be paid the National Living Wage and is the latest stage of the company’s £4.1 million investment in its scheme over a four-year period.
The programme also offers placements in a wide range of roles in the company, including within its IT, HR, customer services, operations, sales support, distribution, financial planning and marketing departments at both its Stirling and Reading offices.
To date, Prudential has recruited more than 199 young people to its work-based learning programme, which gives all apprentices the opportunity to achieve a recognised vocational qualification, as well as gain important work-based skills. It’s based on a 15-month training contract, with all apprentices being paid the National Living Wage.

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