Women in STEM Apprenticeships 2017/18

Generally, in 2017/8 the trend in Core STEM apprenticeships was for women to account for a higher percentage of apprenticeship starts the higher the level of the apprenticeship. Given that the greatest skills shortages in Core STEM are at higher skills levels, and given that the occupations these apprenticeships train people to do tend to be better paid and to be more resistant to technological change and automation, this is very positive.

The medium-term trend shows that the percentage of Advanced and Higher apprenticeships in Core STEM disciplines which females complete have also been increasing – on average and in each sector subject area (SSA). The data on apprenticeship starts, with numbers and percentages of females enrolling steadily increasing year on year, means we can expect this trend to continue.

However, the overall number of girls/young women successfully completing Core STEM apprenticeships declined between 2016/7 and 2017/8 because of a drop in the numbers achieving Intermediate apprenticeships.

Core STEM employers of all sizes are working hard to attract female apprentices, aided by the WISE Apprenticeship Diversity Toolkit. Core STEM skills shortages are costing UK business £1.5bn per year according to a recent survey of employers Attracting more girls and young women into Advanced and Higher Core STEM apprenticeships is crucial if employers are to effectively meet their skills needs.

Note: 2018/9 figures cover Q1 only.

Engineering & Manufacturing Technologies

The percentage of Engineering & Manufacturing Technologies apprenticeships completed by females has remained steady at 7% for every year from 2014/15 to 2017/18.

Construction & The Built Environment

The proportion of girls/young women completing Construction & the Built Environment apprenticeships remains flat at 2% from 2014/5 to 2017/8. However, there has been growth in the number of achievers in this time – from 400 in 2014/5 to a peak of 1,060 in 2016/7 falling back to 780 in 2017/8.

Information & Communication Technology

In 2017/8, 12% of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) apprenticeships were completed by females – continuing the trend of year-on-year decline since 2014/5. Overall numbers dropped slightly, from 1,360 to 1,230; the male number dropped by a greater amount.

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