Highest number recorded of women in construction apprenticeships

Posted on 06 March 2024

Protrade's research revealed that in the 2022-23 period, 10% of the approximately 24,530 individuals embarking on construction apprenticeships were young women, marking a 2% increase from the previous year. Despite this progress, significant barriers to further female participation in construction apprenticeships persist.

According to Morgan Siddall's report "Are we Gen Z ready?", 57% of women and girls remain deterred from pursuing careers in the construction sector due to the perception of it being male-dominated. Supporting this perception, data from the Women's Engineering Society (WES) indicates that only 12.37% of engineers in the UK are female.

Construction continues to lag behind other sectors in achieving gender parity, with women constituting only 14.7% of the industry's workforce, nearly 33% lower than the national average across all industries.

Craig Sanders, joint managing director at Protrade, noted the historical association of women in construction primarily with roles like architecture and design, attributing the persistent stigma against women in on-site construction to their historical underrepresentation. However, he observed a gradual shift with more women entering construction roles involving hands-on building work, which challenges traditional stereotypes.

Sanders acknowledged the progress made in promoting gender equality in the UK over the past decade and emphasised the increasing efforts of businesses to foster equality in the workplace, which he believes will further encourage female participation in construction. Nonetheless, he cautioned that while the construction sector is gradually becoming more inclusive, significant hurdles remain before it can achieve parity with other leading industries in terms of diversity.

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