Modern apprenticeships receive £500,000 funding to boost equality

Following concerns about gender imbalance in the modern apprenticeship programme, the Scottish government has pledged an extra £500,000 funding to boost equality.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) will use the money to encourage more women, minority groups, disabled people and care leavers to take part in the scheme.

Labour MSP Siobhan McMahon said: “SDS have been tasked with addressing the gender imbalance which exists in sectors like construction and health and social care yet this seems to have had little impact. SDS’s own figures indicate that, as of December 2014, only 4% of engineering apprentices in Scotland were women. To ask SDS to take the lead while tackling a societal issue such as occupational segregation and expect them to make great strides seems to me to be a rather optimistic course of action.”

Another concern was the difference in the attainment levels of male and female apprentices. Figures show an almost equal number of male and female apprentices at level two while at level five there were 10 times more men than women.

Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon said: “I do think that this needs to be looked at. It’s not just the culture, it’s not just the occupational segregation, but it’s also the level of achievement.”