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£10m Women’s Skills Project Kicks Off


Birmingham football manager Karren Brady is calling on women to join a national initiative aimed at giving them opportunities to improve their skills and careers.

Brady is urging women workers across the UK to participate in a £10m initiative to help them secure better training and support to fulfil their potential. She is spearheading the second phase of the Women & Work Project which was launched last year by Gordon Brown as Chancellor.

The project is testing new recruitment and career opportunities for up to 10,000 women over two years in nine sectors where there are skills shortages and where women are under-represented. It is being delivered by Sector Skills Councils working with employers.

Brady was only 23 when she became MD of Birmingham City FC and has encouraged her own female employees to achieve their potential through mentoring systems and training programmes.

She said: “There has been progress since I started out but the glass ceiling still exists for women in the UK - only 33% of managers and senior officials in business and the public sector are female.

“But women are the hidden asset in ambitious companies looking to increase productivity. Working with Sector Skills Councils to unlock the potential of women in the labour market could be worth between £15 and £23 billion to the UK economy.”

She added: “It is crucial that we challenge traditional perceptions and break down the barriers to women advancing in non-traditional roles. According to research two-thirds of women work in only 12 occupational areas – mainly cleaning, catering, clerical, retail, caring and first level management. Initiatives such as Women & Work are much needed to ensure that women progress through the ranks. But they must grab the opportunities that are created.”

Karren is asking more employers to develop the skills of their female workforce in order to increase the productivity of their businesses and public service organisations.

Supporting the scheme, David Lammy, Minister for Skills, said, “We are investing £10m to address the skills gender imbalance. It's about getting a better deal for women and for all of us, as this has the potential to bring a greater rate of return to our economy and to our society as a whole.”

The Government investment is matched by contributions from employers to provide skills training, development and support – offering women the opportunity to train for a new job or progress within their company into higher skilled, better paid jobs.

Funding is available to the following sectors: construction, food and drink manufacture, environment and land based industries, clothing manufacture, transport, automotive retail, science & engineering, cleaning & facilities management, and energy and utilities.


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