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Success on the cards for female apprentices


Female apprentices are making great strides in traditionally male-dominated areas, said skills secretary John Denham at this year's Apprenticeship Awards.

Seven of this year’s 12 finalists were women, three of whom had undertaken apprenticeships in areas more often associated with male apprentices – aerospace engineering, engineering and electrical installation.

Ten years ago, only 75,000 people started apprenticeships, and many didn't finish them.

Last year, 184,000 people started high-quality apprenticeships and nearly half of those were women.

However, just 2% of engineering and plumbing apprentices were female while only 3% of childcare, learning and development apprentices were male.

Women are under-represented in sectors such as construction and engineering, sectors with major contracts to deliver the 2012 Games and Thames Gateway, but which face the greatest skills shortages.

By 2013, the government wants all suitably qualified school leavers to be entitled to an apprenticeship place. As the demand for apprenticeships grows, the government hopes that over the next decade, one in five young people will start an apprenticeship, making them a mainstream option.

The government will fund pilots later this year to encourage more women to consider apprenticeships in non-traditional careers.

John Denham said: "I want to see far more young people choose apprenticeships
as a great way to embark on a fulfilling career. Apprenticeships are critical to our success as a nation.

"At present, nearly half of all apprentices are women. Apprenticeships have been going from strength to strength, and over the past decade we have more than doubled the number of young people and adults starting apprenticeships.

"But we need to go further. We need more women to take up apprenticeships, especially in areas such as engineering and construction, to tackle current skills shortages and to ensure we have the right people with the right skills in place to do the jobs of the future.

"We'll be providing more funding, support and advice for women so that those who may not have considered doing an apprenticeship can be encouraged that it's the right choice for them. We'll also be working closely with employers so that they can tap into a more diverse workforce to meet their skills needs."

This year’s Apprentice Award winners were:

  • Young apprentice of the year – Luke Power, sports management, London

  • Apprentice of the year – Claire Harrison, pharmaceuticals, Skipton

  • Advanced apprentice of the year – Rachael Hoyle, aerospace and
    engineering, Preston

  • Personal achiever of the year – Victoria Snook, hair and beauty, Preston.


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