Young women still getting a raw deal, MP claims

The issue of gender diversity in apprenticeships was raised in the House of Commons yesterday. Paula Sheriff, MP for Dewsbury, told the House that young women apprentices weren’t getting a fair deal under the terms of many training schemes.

Ms Sherriff said, “Young women apprentices receive less pay, less training and fewer job opportunities compared to their male peers. The Government need to take action, including ensuring that flexible and part-time apprenticeships are available and that high quality careers advice is offered to young women. Young women deserve fair opportunities to access the best possible long term prospects.”

Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley Jess Philips tabled an Early Day Motion on the back of the publication of a report by the charity Young Women’s Trust to coincide with National Apprenticeships Week in March. Sherriff said she was happy to sign the Motion.

The report, Making Apprenticeships Work Better for Young Women, made the claim that young female apprentices are being disadvantaged at every stage of apprenticeships. It also claimed that the issue will not be resolved without urgent action from both employers and the Government.

In particular, the report revealed that young women apprentices get paid less: £4.82 an hour compared to £5.85 for men, which amounts to a cumulative figure of £2,000 a year. Young women apprentices also report receiving less training than men – 23% of women received no training at all, compared to just 12% of men.

And it’s not only money – opportunities are also imbalanced. The report found that women are woefully under-represented in a range of sectors. “In 2014 there were 74 men starting an apprenticeship in plumbing for every woman. Similarly, for every female apprentice entering the construction sector in England there were 56 men and there were 25 men for every woman starting an apprenticeship in engineering.”