EOC investigates apprenticeship diversity barriers

The
Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has launched a formal investigation into
occupational segregation in the Modern Apprenticeship system.

The
organisation is using its statutory powers to look at the barriers preventing
women taking up careers in traditionally male dominated industries and vice
versa.

Research
shows an enormous difference between the choices of young people with 99 per
cent of construction apprentices and 96 per cent of engineering apprentices
currently being male.

By
the same token, 97 per cent of childcare apprentices are women and the EOC
wants to hear about the experiences of employees working in sectors dominated
by the opposite sex.

The
body is seeking the opinions of individuals, schools and employers and will
focus on Modern Apprenticeships in five sectors: construction, plumbing,
engineering, technology and childcare.

It
will also explore the relationship between gender segregation in training and
at work as well as the issue of skills and pay gaps in the UK.

The
investigation will conduct two pieces of research between now and December:


A statistical overview of occupational segregation, skills gaps and pay gaps


A survey of all 47 Learning and Skills Councils – the funding organisations for
Modern Apprenticeships – to identify how choice and equality are promoted by
the system, including rates of pay.

Throughout
2004 it will look at the current initiatives to challenge stereotyped choices
and carry out a range qualitative research with young people, employers and
training providers.

www.eoc.org.uk

By Ross Wigham

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