EOC investigates very ‘unmodern’ apprenticeships

The
Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) is launching an investigation into the
Government’s Modern Apprenticeship training scheme because not enough women are
applying.

Julie
Mellor, chair of the EOC, said the investigation would concentrate on the
reasons women were shunning the training and what employers could do to reverse
the situation.

According
to the EOC, just 1 per cent of trainees on plumbing, electrical and construction
apprenticeships are female because of negative stereotypes in those sectors.

"At
the moment apprenticeships are part of the problem, rather than the solution.
They are even more segregated than the industries they are supposed to
serve," she said.

The
shortfall of females taking apprenticeships was feeding the country’s
productivity problems, because industry was missing out on a huge number of
potential recruits, she said.

"Occupational
segregation is a real challenge to British productivity. We have skills
shortages in the construction, IT and electrical industries and the gender gap
is fuelling this problem.

"No
wonder there are skills shortages if we’re missing out on half the population."

Mellor
is also concerned about the 25-year-old age limit for apprenticeships, as it
could prevent women returning to the market after having children.

www.eoc.org.uk

By Ross Wigham

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