training providers and managing agencies.
Science, Engineering, Construction and Technology (SECT). It is aimed at employers,
This guide provides information on how to recruit and retain female apprentices in
Recruit and retain female apprentices
How to Guide:
“Increasing skills shortages continue to affect the SECT industries. Promoting
diversity within apprenticeships can help to reduce those skills shortages. By 2010,
only 20% of the workforce will be white, able bodied men, under the age of 45.”
(IES) Institute of Employment Studies
“Getting rid of career sexism is vital to British industry and our wider economy. We
need to plug our skills gap and we cannot afford to waste anyone’s talent.”
Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt, Ex-Minister for Trade and Industry
“Promoting greater diversity in recruitment of apprentices creates a more
representative and balanced work force, helps businesses grow their customer base
and earns the company a good reputation as a non-discriminatory employer.”
(Apprenticeship Task Force, Dec 2004)
JIVE Partners is an ESF funded partnership made up of 13 organisations, including Sector Skills
Councils, Further and Higher Education Providers, the Equal Opportunities Commission and
Women’s Training Centres.
Our aim is to work together to increase the numbers of women in Science, Engineering,
Construction and Technology (SECT) by bringing about cultural change. Most of our staff come
from these backgrounds and have a wealth of experience in equality issues.
JIVE Partners can give free advice on recruitment and marketing.
UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology
Helpline 01274 436485
There is still a common misconception amongst employers and training / learning Top Tips
providers that girls simply do not want to go into the SECT industries. Research has JIVE and the UKRC have developed a
Culture Analysis Tool (CAT). This is a
found these claims to be unfounded. In the EOC report Free to Choose 80% of girls
confidential questionnaire for employees
said they would / might be interested in a non-traditional job and 76% wanted to try
and managers to assess the culture of
non-traditional work before making their job choices.
the workplace with respect to gender. A
By not recruiting girls / women into non-traditional areas employers are missing out on a huge report is compiled with
pool of talent. recommendations on how to improve
areas as well as to identify good
Remember - 55% of girls achieve 5 or more GCSE’s A-C, compared to 48% of boys practice. Enquire at:
(Apprenticeship Taskforce) www.setwomenresource.org.uk
JIVE offers training for employers and
employees– Enquire at:
Recruit Female Apprentices ! A full description of JIVE’s Mentoring
Tool Box is available on our website:
• Create links with local employers and promote non-traditional work experience placements.
• Run a girls’ day to create interest. Focus the days specifically for girls and make sure they are fun and
challenging. Ensure that role models from the industry you are promoting are available (use recent Role models if chosen appropriately can
apprentices or contact local employers) and that local employers have a hand in the day. See the guide make a tremendous impact on those
‘Inspire future women in SECT’ in this series. making a career choice. Draw on help
from the UKRC website:
• Talk to schools and ask for a female only audience. Girls may not have considered your industry as a www.setwomenresource.org.uk to
locate local contacts.
career choice simply because they don’t know enough about it – so educate them.
• Talk to girls about the pay they can expect whilst training and when qualified. 67% of females
questioned were not aware of the difference in pay between non-traditional and traditional female Suggested reading list:
careers (EOC). The Equal Opportunities Commission
have produced a number of ‘Action for
• Look at advertising material and ensure that it includes appropriate images of females. ‘Real’ Change’ reports – aimed at all of those
photographs are usually much more enticing than staged models. Ensure that the literature grabs the involved in the recruitment and training
attention and is relevant to the industry. Think about how and where you are advertising. Is this likely to process. These are:
reach and attract a female audience? Action for careers advice professionals;
Action for work experience co-
• Ensure that the opening images on websites include women as well as men. Many girls will look no ordinators; Action for LSC’s; Action for
further into the site if not. Ensure that female role models are attainable (could that be me?!). The training providers; Action for employers
WISE publication ‘SET for a Great Future’ gives good practical advice on developing recruitment Apprenticeship Taskforce Report
literature and websites. www.wisecampaign.org.uk Free to Choose – Tackling Gender
Barriers to Better Jobs – EOC
• Look at recruitment and selection criteria and tests and ensure that they are not inadvertently
Employers, Young People and Gender
discouraging females. Segregation - EOC
• Ensure that those involved in the recruitment and selection process have had appropriate equality and
diversity training so that they can make decisions free from bias. SET for a great future – WISE
• Work in partnership – combining the resources of local employers, Training Providers, Colleges, Careers UKRC Good Practice Guide – The
Advisors, LSC’s, Sector Skills Councils and schools can create a much bigger impact. Business Case For Diversity
• Emphasise team work and the benefits of your industry to encourage young women to apply for UKRC Good Practice Guide –
Recruitment and Selection
apprenticeships. Be creative in marketing publicity.
UKRC Good Practice Guide – Mentoring
• Develop an ‘Alert’ system to monitor and track non-traditional applicants from initial enquiry to the
UKRC Good Practice Guide – Work-Life
finish of their new training. Balance
• Set your organisation inspirational targets and inspire your staff to reach them.
Gender Equality in Work Experience for
Young People – EOC
Equality and Pathfinders – EOC
Retention of Female Apprentices
THE 3Rs – Recruitment, Retention,
Good practice employers will already have policies in place on the acceptable standards of behaviour in Returning (Institute of Physics / Daphne
the workplace. Ensure that these are communicated to and understood by all staff. You may find that
some employees are nervous of working with females for the first time – encourage open
communication and discussion so that any apprehension can be alleviated. Remember, it can also be Taking a Leading Role - A Good Practice
difficult for apprentices in their first job – particularly if you are a female in a male dominated Guide - The Royal Society
environment. Consider implementing a broad diversity training programme for all staff.
Ensure that induction time is set aside at the start of the apprenticeship programme. Agree clear job
expectations. Discuss policies and ensure that they are understood as opposed to just having them read
from a manual.
Look at the culture of the organisation. An environment with open communication is likely to have higher
retention. Operate a zero tolerance approach to bullying, harassment and sexism. Think about social
activities – are they as welcoming to females as to males? (see top tips)
Visit the college the apprentice will be attending. Make sure you are happy that they have adequate
knowledge of diversity and equality issues.
Being in a minority can lead to a feeling of isolation for some females. Look at mentoring and
networking opportunities. Even if you only have one female in the organisation they can be
teamed up with those in a similar situation via trade associations, unions, professional bodies etc. Linking
up with other organisations can bring untold business benefits to your company. The ‘How to Guide:
Mentoring’ has more information, or speak to JIVE.
Ensure that there is somebody in a senior position who the apprentice can go to confidentially with any
concerns or worries. This might be a Training Advisor, Site Supervisor, or HR manager.
Ensure that they are being trained fairly. Well intended practical ‘help’ results in the apprentice not being
Consider implementing flexible working to retain qualified workers of both sexes. Remember, flexible
hours doesn’t have to mean less hours.