Jobs for the Boys Myth Limits Apprentice Opportunities

Career Climbers / 19th May 2017

School leavers are missing out on potential apprenticeship opportunities because they mistakenly believe that careers available are in so called ‘traditional’ gender specific careers, new research by leading employer Prudential shows.

The insurer’s nationwide study of 16 to 18 year olds found that nearly two thirds (61 per cent) believe most apprenticeship opportunities are in sectors characterised by largely male workforces, like construction, manufacturing, agriculture and IT.

Their parents share their views as one in three (31 per cent)  believe apprenticeships are more suitable for boys, while just one in eight (12 per cent) think they are more suitable for girls, with two thirds (65 per cent) willing to encourage their sons to consider apprenticeship opportunities compared to 57 per cent who would encourage their daughters to pursue an apprenticeship.

Government data shows apprenticeships are available in 1,500 job roles covering more than 170 industries from advertising to youth work and from environmental engineering to the legal sector, and the gender split between successful applicants is slightly weighted towards women. Apprenticeship participation is at record levels with nearly 900,000 starting schemes each year.

However, the Prudential research shows male school leavers think most apprenticeship opportunities involve manual labour (52 per cent) while female students think apprenticeship opportunities for women are in gender stereotypical roles like nursing, health and beauty and childcare (61 per cent).

This highlights the difficulties faced when promoting the inclusive and diverse range of apprenticeships available today. The majority of both male (56 per cent) and female (65 per cent) students are not aware of which employers offer apprenticeship opportunities. 

Simon Moffatt, human resources director at Prudential’s UK insurance business, said: “No one should miss out on an opportunity to further their career, education or training because of myths and misunderstandings. Clearly more can be done to get the message to students that apprenticeship opportunities now exist across 170 different industries and that there should not be any gender stereotypes when it comes to career choices.” 

Prudential is committed to supporting apprenticeships, and its 2017 apprenticeship programme, which will create opportunities for up to 21 young people who will be paid the National Living Wage, is the latest stage of the company’s £4.1 million investment in its scheme over a four-year period.

The Prudential apprenticeship programme goes beyond just offering employment. The aim is to arm young people with the qualifications, knowledge and life skills needed to embark on a successful career in whichever field they choose.

The programme offers placements in a wide range of roles in the company, including within its IT, HR, customer services, operations, sales support, distribution, financial planning and marketing departments. Positions are available within Prudential’s Reading and Stirling offices. 

To date, Prudential has recruited over 199 young people, including its 21 latest recruits, to its high quality, work-based training programme, which gives all apprentices the opportunity to achieve a recognised vocational qualification as well as gaining important work-based skills. It is based on a 15 month training contract, with all apprentices being paid the National Living Wage.

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