WOMEN and girls are being held back because the Scottish government’s flagship Modern Apprenticeships programme is increasingly being gender segregated, Labour warned yesterday.
Research from Scottish Labour has revealed that last year, in almost half (23 out of 50) of apprentice roles, fewer than 25 per cent of workers were women. In 14 of these roles the proportion of women has fallen or stayed the same.
The research also found that last year, in six of 50 apprentice roles, fewer than 25 per cent of workers were men.
The findings come after the Apprenticeships Pay Survey revealed that 14 per cent of apprentices are paid less than £5.55 an hour, while 2.2 per cent are paid less than £2.67 an hour.
Scottish Labour shadow education minister Daniel Johnson accused the SNP of being “asleep on the job” and called for urgent action to tackle gender segregation in modern apprenticeships, as young people “shouldn’t be pigeon-holed into particular roles because of their gender.”
He said the SNP had “failed to deliver” on promises to address the gender gap in apprenticeships, which has led to lower wages and fewer job opportunities for women.
Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said the “shocking statistics” highlighted a number of concerns that the union has with the current system which “exploits young people and disadvantages women in particular.”
Mr Rafferty accused the Scottish government of “failing” to use its procurement and public sector powers to ensure high standard levels in apprenticeships.
He said: “The Scottish government should stop talking about delivering a world beating apprenticeship system and actually get on with taking proactive measures to enforce age and gender equality.”