Apprenticeships and gender sterotypes

British Gas apprenticeships

In a recent study carried out across the UK, only 10% of girls said they would apply for an apprenticeship compared to 22% of boys.

Research carried out by British Gas has found that cultural norms which carries gender traditional stereotypes, affect young men and women career choices.

It goes on to suggest that over a third of UK parents (35%) give their children gender bias career advice and are twice as likely to advise their son to take up an apprenticeship scheme than their daughters.  This further reflected on their results which showed that 70% of girls thought that they were more suited to careers within industries such as beauty, education, child mining and nursing.

According to the Women Engineering society (WES) ‘within careers such as Engineering only 6% of the workforce is female, yet girls make up about half of physics students at GSCE level’.

These patterns have been clearly reflected within the uptake of British Gas apprenticeship programme: in 2014 only 4% of applicants to their competitive technical and engineering apprenticeships were female.

Claire Miles, Managing Director of Service & Repair says ‘It’s clear from this research that apprenticeships are still regarded as something of a man’s world among young people. That’s behind the times! … Apprenticeships are a great way into an organisation’.

British Gas encourages women to apply for their apprenticeship scheme.

Kirsty Haig, 33, is a former British Gas apprentice who’s risen through the ranks and now manages new recruits at the company’s Thatcham academy. She says: “All types of people become apprentices. I applied for the apprenticeship because I decided that I wanted to keep my mind busy and I’d be doing something physical rather than sitting behind a desk. When I started, I didn’t know one end of a screwdriver to another. A year down the line I got my Gas Safe badge so I was competent, then I went out on my own.”

24 year-old Stephanie Walker says this doesn’t bother her at all: “Working in a male dominated role is absolutely fine. I was slightly nervous at first and worried that I wouldn’t be accepted, but that wasn’t the case. All of my colleagues, male and female, have a really good attitude to their work and they aren’t concerned with what gender I am.  “I’ve never looked back. I absolutely love my job and meeting new customers every day is really rewarding. No day is ever the same, so it never gets boring.”

You can apply to join the British Gas apprenticeship scheme from their website.


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