Number of female Stem apprentices ‘has got to change’

The TES is reporting that skills minister Robert Halfon says schools ‘need to do a huge amount’ to promote take-up of Stem apprenticeships among women.

Mr Halfon, speaking today in Westminster Hall during a session on financial support for apprentices, said that schools “need to do a huge amount” to provide adequate careers advice to students in order to offset a “cultural problem” of stereotyping professions based on gender.

“We have 53 per cent female apprentices…53 per cent but very few doing Stem subjects,” he said. “So if I go to a college or place, go to a room, [and visit] healthcare [for example], it will all be females, [with] one or two men in there. Of course it’s fantastic that they’re doing it. [But] I go into a room of engineering or electrical it’s all men. That has got to change.”

He added: “A lot of that comes from careers in the schools. So I was told by one student yesterday that when they were given careers advice they had pictures so there was all the kind of engineering jobs were men and then they had a nurse as a woman, as a picture…things like that. This is why we face a problem, there’s a cultural problem in our country and schools need to do a huge amount more to promote apprenticeships and skills.”

Earlier in the debate, Gordon Marsden, shadow minister for higher education, further education and skills, said that, on average, male apprentices were paid £1 an hour more than women, and that this divide would “play havoc” with the government’s aspirations of recruiting more women into Stem careers.

More at: Number of female Stem apprentices ‘has got to change’

What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie

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