Jobs for the boys myth limits apprentice opportunities


The nationwide study of 16 to 18 year olds found that nearly two thirds 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 believe apprenticeships are more suitable for boys, while just one in eight think they are more suitable for girls, with two thirds 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 research shows male school leavers think most apprenticeship opportunities involve manual labour while female students think apprenticeship opportunities for women are in gender stereotypical roles like nursing, health and beauty and childcare.

This highlights the difficulties faced when promoting the inclusive and diverse range of apprenticeships available today. The majority of both male and female 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.”