Training charity JTL has hosted a parliamentary reception to mark the launch of its new programme to encourage more women into building services engineering apprenticeships.
The initiative was backed by a range of cross party MPs, including the leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband, who attended the event sponsored by Jim Sheridan MP and hosted by JTL’s chairman, Dr Ian Livsey.
JTL’s Apprentice Ambassador Initiative has been developed to give young women real life role models from within JTL’s group of female apprentices. The ten inaugural apprentice ambassadors have been taken from across England and Wales and are all current and former JTL apprentices.
They have been chosen for the roles as a result of their personal success and passion for promoting apprenticeships. Throughout the year, the ambassadors will go into schools and speak at local events in an attempt to encourage more young women to become apprentices in the sector.
The apprentice ambassadors will also act as mentors to any girl who signs up for a JTL apprenticeship, and the training charity is hoping to appoint more apprentice ambassadors next year, as the number of women applying for apprenticeships increases.
JTL chairman Dr Ian Livsey said, “We wanted to bring the ambassadors to Westminster to highlight the issues which prevent women from entering these apprenticeships. We have helped more than 40,000 apprentices train over the last 24 years, but only a small percentage have been female.
“This has been because women don’t see building services as something that they can do. This perception is something we need to change. Hopefully, by hearing the stories from the ambassadors and by seeing that employers are willing to support female apprentices, more young women will want to take up apprenticeships in the electrical, plumbing and heating and ventilating sectors, and make that first step to a skilled career.”
Currently, women make up just two percent of apprentices in the construction sector*, and around one percent of apprentices within the electrotechnical industry**. As the leading training charity for the building services sector, JTL hopes that their Apprentice Ambassadors will inspire more women into careers in the trades, so that employers from within the industry have the best possible choice of high quality candidates for their apprenticeship vacancies.
* Women in the Workplace, BIS, 2013
** National Gender Stats, Skills Funding Agency, 2012