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TUC report raises questions over female apprenticeship choices

New research has suggested that female apprentices are far more likely to end up in low-paid jobs than male apprentices, as a result of training in ‘female-dominated sectors’.

The research – which was carried out by the TUC and the National Apprenticeship Service – revealed that almost equal numbers of males and females took on apprenticeships over the course of 2011/12.

However, it also found that "gender stereotyping" was putting female apprentices off from taking up careers in traditionally male dominated industries, such as construction, decorating or plumbing. Instead, it found that female apprentices entered into sectors such as hairdressing.

The report found that the vast majority – 98 per cent – of apprentices in the construction sector were male, while 90 per cent of those in the hairdressing and childcare sectors were female.

The number of females entering into apprenticeships has doubled over the last decade, according to the TUC, which is extremely positive news, however they are still entering into traditionally lower-paid sectors that offer less chance of career progression, the report confirmed.

TUC general secretary, Frances O'Grady, told the BBC: “Young women still overwhelmingly find themselves pursuing careers in 'traditional' industries which tend to pay less, and black and Asian people continue to be under-represented in key sectors of the economy.

"Unless we create better training and employment opportunities for young people, and challenge gender stereotyping and discrimination from the outset, the situation is not going to improve,” she added.