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Running taster days (Girls only and mixed)

Maybe you will decide to run an event for girls only which is legal and covered under ‘positive action’. Do inform the girls that they will still need to apply for apprenticeships alongside boys.

Many organisations such as MBDA and Ahead Partnership run events where schools are asked to send 50/50 girls and boys. This is an effective way of engaging more girls. As girls are present in larger numbers they are more likely to feel confident and able to access the information provided.

Some practical tests undertaken at assessment centres can inadvertently disadvantage female candidates, as they are less likely to have been able to practice these skills at home.

Female candidates may be less likely to recognise and select appropriate tools, or be confident in using them. Be clear and supportive. Consider alternatives to technical language and terms – use both.

Having a practical session can help alleviate any fears about the practical test and give them the opportunity to practice using tools and equipment in a safe and supportive environment.

The assessment centre can be quite daunting for all students, particularly girls, who may be concerned they will be the only girl present.

  • Put attendees at ease and give a brief overview of what they should expect at the assessment centre, if they want to apply.
  • Talk briefly about what happens in the interview and what to expect, what they should wear, and what sort of questions they may get asked.
One of your female role models can talk about her experience of the assessment centre process and give tips on how to prepare for it.

The idea of an apprenticeships can be quite worrying for all students, and girls may have additional concerns about their abilities, potential isolation, progression opportunities and lack of support.

  • Talk about any support facilities you have in place.
    • Do you have a mentoring scheme? If not, consider setting one up.
    • How are new apprentices supported?
    • Does the company organise leisure activities for employees that are gender neutral?
    • Does your company have flexible apprenticeships to accommodate parents with children?
  • Have a female role model available to answer any questions and to talk about her overall experience, not just the job. This could be done in small groups where attendees can ask specific questions in a safe environment.
  • Where possible give girls a female contact whom they can make contact with to ask any further questions before applying.
You could prepare a FAQs sheet in advance for girls, parents, carers, teachers to take away on the day. Include starting and final salaries, support and social activities.

You will want students who are interested in applying for an apprenticeship to do so, and for those that just want to know more at this stage to stay in touch.

  • Decide what you can offer as a ‘next step’. See follow on activities.
  • Provide clear information about the next steps at your event. Use a handout or follow up by e-mail.
  • Provide a named contact for follow up.
  • Include information on and links to supportive organisations
    • WISE Campaign
    • WES
    • Local colleges
    • Institutions
    • National Apprenticeship Service
  • Obtain consent to include contact information for students (and all delegates) in a database for follow up and for future event invitations
Ask the students individually if they need anything else or if there is anything that might help them. Act on what they tell you.

Next Checklist: Delivering effective work experience placements

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