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More should be done to inspire next generation of female apprentices

Carly Wills, Editor

09/03/2020

Tags: News

A group of respected industry bodies have hailed the recent rise in female electrical apprenticeships – and say more should be done to encourage other young women to pick up the tools. 

The Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB), Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT), SELECT and Unite the Union all welcomed recent figures which showed that 13 female apprentices are currently training to be electricians in 2019-2020, compared to seven in 2018-2019. This increase in female applicants overall in 2019/2020 saw 70 per cent of those applying being taken on to the Electrical Installation Modern Apprenticeship.

Fiona Harper, the secretary of the SJIB and director of employment and skills at SELECT, said: “In the month that we celebrated both Scottish Apprenticeship Week and International Women’s Day, it’s heartening to see more young women than ever taking up electrical apprenticeships in Scotland.

“It’s also heartening to see that all these women are there on merit. Like all apprentices, they were required to pass an assessment before they were accepted onto the apprenticeship programme, and each demonstrated the aptitude and competence to do so.

“There is clearly a growing realisation among young women that being an electrical professional is a viable career.

“The rise of renewables and the next generation of electrical technology is making our industry more attractive to would-be electricians of both genders, so it is now up to all of us to tap into this enthusiasm and ensure we keep a pipeline of talent – both male and female – coming through.”

Unite the Union claimed that the Scottish Government should be doing more to encourage young women to take up electrical apprenticeships.

Scott Foley, regional officer for Unite the Union, said: “Seeing the rise in female apprentices is encouraging – but just think what could be achieved if Holyrood encouraged our young women to do so.

“We know that there is an untapped seam of female talent out there – what we need is a concerted government campaigns and programme of investment to inspire them.”

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