Government figures show that young women are less likely to start apprenticeships than young men, as Young Women’s Trust calls for action to support women. 227,500 women under the age of 25 started apprenticeships in 2014/15, compared to 282,600 men – a gap of more than 55,000.
Men are most likely to start an apprenticeship between the ages of 19 and 24, while women tend to start later. 220,000 women who started apprenticeships last year were over the age of 25, compared to 140,000 men.
A Young Women’s Trust report, ‘Making Apprenticeships Work for Young Women’, found that, for many young women, apprenticeships mean poor pay, under-representation in male-dominated fields, a lack of flexibility around working hours, and limited long-term prospects.
Gender stereotypes and a lack of support can shut women out of male-dominated sectors like construction and engineering. Women tend to go into lower-paid sectors, contributing to a gender pay gap of 21 per cent – or £2,000 a year. They are less likely to receive training during their apprenticeship and less likely to get a job after.
Young Women’s Trust is calling on employers and the Government to make apprenticeships work for young women.
Young Women’s Trust Chief Executive Dr Carole Easton says, “As the Government strives to meet its target of creating three million apprentices by 2020, we need action to ensure young women are not shut out of opportunities.
“Young women continue to be significantly under-represented in many sectors; less than two per cent of construction apprentices are women and less than four per cent of engineering apprentices.
“Small changes like adapting the language in job adverts to appeal to young women, explicitly welcoming women applicants and removing formal academic entry requirements for apprenticeships can make a big difference. Providing part-time and flexible apprenticeships would help young mothers in particular, who often have to balance care with work.”
A growing list of employers, including Asda, Barclays and Network Rail, are signing the Young Women’s Trust pledge to take steps to improve young women’s representation on their apprenticeship schemes.