TUC report highlights gender stereotyping in apprenticeships

New research from unionlearn and the NAS has found that female apprentices are far more likely to end up in low-paid jobs as a result of training in female-dominated sectors.

The study shows that while there has been a large rise in the number of women taking apprenticeships over the last ten years, many end up working in female-dominated sectors, such as early-years childcare and hairdressing, where wages tend to be lower and where there is less chance of career progression.

The report, ‘Under-representation by gender and race in apprenticeships’warns that gender stereotyping is dissuading young women from pursuing careers in traditionally male industries.

In 2011/12 50.1% of all apprenticeship starts were female. However, women made up just 2% of all apprenticeship starts in each of the construction, electro-technical and vehicle maintenance and repair sectors, and less than four per cent in the engineering and driving vehicles sectors

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “There is genuine political will to try and improve apprenticeships and people’s access to them. However, this research shows that huge inequalities remain. Young women still overwhelmingly find themselves pursuing careers in ‘traditional’ industries which tend to pay less, and black and Asian people continue to be under-represented in key sectors of the economy.

“Unless we create better training and employment opportunities for young people, and challenge gender stereotyping and discrimination from the outset, the situation is not going to improve.

“Unions, employers and government must work together to provide better careers advice in schools and to support and improve opportunities for all young people.”