One of the governments aims is to increase the proportion of apprentices from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities by 20 per cent. The government is also working towards getting more young women into apprenticeships that men tend to work in such as engineering. Employers are making sure that they have a diverse workforce so that they attract more minorities into their apprenticeship scheme. Rolls-Royce particularly have a reputation for ‘creativity and excellence’ and to them, diversity is essential to maintaining their ‘world class offer’. Rolls-Royce is looking to their own apprenticeship scheme to ensure it builds an ‘inclusive next generation of inspiring innovators’. So how can you make sure your apprenticeship scheme is diverse?

Getting the older generation into apprenticeships

Due to the ever-expanding skills gap and the increase in people’s life expectancy, the government is encouraging companies to commit to employing older workers. Andy Briggs who is chief executive of Aviva UK Life said that ‘the UK is facing a colossal skills gap, and older workers are vital to filling it’. Despite this, 11.3 per cent of those starting an apprenticeship in 2015/16 were aged between 45 and 59, while less than one per cent were aged 60 years and over. The vast majority of apprenticeships were taken up by those in younger age groups. Banking giant Barclays has established its Bolder Apprenticeship programme – designed to extend opportunities for apprenticeships across the organisation, specifically providing support for adults over the age of 24 wishing to get back into the workplace.

Women in apprenticeships

Men currently outnumber women by 25:1 in engineering apprenticeships, and 56:1 in construction apprenticeships! These apprenticeship industries are being encouraged to broaden their employment and to be more inclusive towards women. As said by Dana Skelley, TfL’s director of asset management, employers need to raise the visibility of girls in more non-traditional roles to encourage more girls to apply. She also suggests representatives for different employers going into schools and talking to girls about where they could go within their industry to encourage more girls to apply to more traditionally male orientated roles.

Challenging the norm

Bethan is an apprentice HGV technician when she entered ‘what is viewed as a male orientated industry’ she ‘didn’t know where to start.’ She has now worked her way up the company, completing both her level 2 and level 3 apprenticeship ending up as a fully qualified fitter, working towards her level 4 management qualification. She has excelled in what is traditionally a very male dominated industry. Bethan’s apprenticeship has allowed her ‘passion to flourish and blossom into a terrific career’. You can read similar stories to Bethan’s at apprenticeship stories (   http://www.apprenticeshipstories.co.uk/  ).

As an employer, it is important to encourage people who wouldn’t traditionally work within your industry to apply and make your workforce more diverse. As the government pushes for 3 million apprentices in work by 2020, you need to look at getting people from different backgrounds into apprenticeships. By challenging social norms we will be more inclusive than ever!

Visit our other blog that discusses equality here.

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