Under-representation by gender and race in apprenticeships

Research summary

Newton B, Williams J | Research Paper 18 | Unionlearn | Nov 2013

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Analyses reveal that alongside occupational segregation by gender in apprenticeships, there is also significant under-representation of ethnic minority groups.

This research was designed to supply detailed insight into under-representation in apprenticeships by gender and ethnicity, to capture information about the decisions made by young people, and to examine employer practices in case recruitment strategies or unconscious biascould act as barriers.

A first stage of work assessed the influence of recent policy developments; examined relevant, current research evidence; explored secondary data sources, such as the Individual Learner Record and Apprentice Pay Survey; and captured the views of strategic staff in the apprenticeship system.

A second stage comprised a large programme of interviews with careers advisers, teachers, training provider/college staff,apprentices and employers.

The report synthesises the research, highlighting the impacts on diversityof the expansion of the programme, and why greater equality and diversity should be a concern. It explores the nature of the barriers encountered by different groups and draws together the evidence on what is effective in overcoming these barriers.

Finally, recommendations are made for how the range of stakeholders in the apprenticeship system can take action to increase interest in apprenticeships and reduce barriers to access generally, as well as specifically act to promote the greater inclusion of young women and ethnic minority groups.