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.
We have involved parents, carers and family members.
Parents, in particular mothers, are key influencers in girls’ career choices.
When advertising the open days, ensure that parents, carers, teachers and family members also feel welcome.
The day will give them all an insight into what is involved in the apprenticeship and give them more confidence in encouraging their daughters/students.
On the day, give them a leaflet outlining the benefits of STEM careers, including salary and career options.
We have included a range of practical, fun, and relevant activities.
- Ensure the day is pitched at an appropriate level for the audience and organise a variety of activities. Including a practical activity (even if it is only a 2 minute activity) can make the session fun and memorable.
- Give attendees a positive non-threatening experience which is fun, interesting, and relevant and which builds their confidence.
- People learn and process information in different ways. While some people like hands-on activities and to get involved, others like facts, data and time to think about what they have learned. Provide a good mix of both.
We have included practical activities for the attendees which are in line with the assessment centre tasks and that will build their confidence. Girls are less likely to have practiced practical tasks at home than boys.
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.
We have invited female and male STEM role models to support the activities.
Your employees are the best advert for your organisation.
- Let them do a brief introduction about their job and give the attendees time to ask them questions.
- Consider training employees in the People Like Me approach beforehand and ensure they’re using the appropriate language to engage girls.
- Ensure you have female role models supporting activities on the day so that attendees can see that there are women succeeding in, and enjoying, a range of STEM careers.
- Try to have at least 30%, and hopefully more, female role models present. Do include role models from varying cultures and try to include young role models that the school students can identify with.
It is helpful to have a mixture of role models from technical and academic routes, and from a range of roles. Too many graduate route role models can be off putting for less academic students.
We demonstrate a range of career options and talk about the ‘types’ of people doing them.
- Ask your role models to talk about their career ambitions and what career options there are in STEM.
- Evidence has shown that women and girls are drawn to careers that make a contribution to society, so talk about how engineers, for example, make a difference to people's lives.
- Explain the outcomes of your organisation’s work, the benefits to communities, society, the environment.
- Your role models could take the People Like Me quiz in advance of the session and use the descriptors to identify skills and traits they may have in common with the students.
We include an overview of the assessment centre process and interview.
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.
We talk about what support is available for apprentices.
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.
We have included information on the ‘next steps’ for those wishing to find out more
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
- Local colleges
- 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
We have built a database of these students, to keep them informed.
- One-off interventions are great but in order to support students to apply and obtain apprenticeships, they may need a series of support interventions and more information and encouragement. It’s critical that you maintain their details, keep in contact with them and provide support and other engagement opportunities. This database will provide a baseline data set and can offer wider information in terms of success rates or drop out indicators if used effectively.
- Maintaining data by gender, ethnicity, and social background will allow you to see how your recruitment performance compares with local and national targets.
- Including age, experience and background in your data set will offer opportunity for further comparison and analysis.