A rallying call to increase the participation of women and ethnic minority groups in work-based learning will be heard this month as the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) jointly publish a guide.
Known as Action for Change, the guide will provide tips and advice for training providers and local learning and skills councils.
“It’s no longer a case of simply talking about these issues – you can actually do something about them,” said Stephen Gardner, the LSC’s director of work-based learning.
He spoke of apprenticeship figures showing “a broad balance between women and men, but hiding wide difference” in the sectors they enter, with women dominating childcare, and men construction. But he also said the diversity agenda has moved beyond a mere talking shop, and that schemes such as the government’s Entry to Employment programme, are addressing it on a practical level.
The EOC has long criticised the UK’s vocational and training system for failing girls, with those from lower socio-economic groups losing out the most.
The guide comes hot on the heels of the LSC’s third Equality and Diversity Annual Report, published late last month, which showed a rise in the number of women and ethnic minority groups in further education and work-based learning.
Citing a 51% growth in the workforce from ethnic groups, and around one million of the 1.3 million jobs created over the next decade set to be taken by women, Kit Roberts, the LSC’s director of equality and diversity, said diversity is directly tied to the LSC’s aim of responding to economic need.
“This is about partnership working,” she said. “The LSC can’t deliver in isolation. We have to work together.”