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Report calls for end to gender disparity in construction apprenticeships

A new report has called for targets to be set for private contractors to increase the number of women taken on as apprentices in the traditionally male-dominated construction disciplines.

The Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee report Women in the Workplace found that despite there being 276,200 female apprenticeships from level two onwards overall versus 244,400 male ones, the construction sector in particular has huge gender disparity.

Only two per cent of construction apprenticeships in 2011/12 were given to female apprentices, amounting to just 230 women. Female apprenticeships were also very low in the industrial sector, accounting for just 12 per cent (2,240) of the total number of apprenticeships offered.

The report has recommended that the government needs to look at how it is managing to increase the number of women sitting on companies’ boards and see if it can create similar action in male-dominated apprenticeship fields.

“As with the government targets for the number of women on boards, targets should be set by the government to encourage women to explore more atypical work sectors, especially in those sectors that have a skills shortage,” the report stated.

The chairman of the committee, Adrian Bailey MP, said that the government should address under-representation in certain sectors of the economy with “a willingness to set targets and, if necessary, to regulate.”

He added, “Four decades since the Equal Pay Act, we still do not have full workplace equality. We cannot wait another 40 years.”