Wales politics

Female apprentices in lowest paid jobs, say assembly members

Manager and ex-apprentice Emily Burridge inspects a batch of concrete
Image caption More women should be encouraged into sectors such as construction, AMs were told

Concerns about the low number of women going into higher-paid apprenticeships have been raised by assembly members.

Labour AM Jenny Rathbone said a lot of women were becoming apprentices, but "they tend to be in the lower-paid jobs like childcare and hairdressing".

Plaid Cymru's Bethan Sayed said more needed to be done to get women into construction, where pay was higher.

Deputy Economy Minister Lee Waters said there were new initiatives to encourage women but the government could do more.

Speaking in a Senedd debate on apprenticeships, Ms Rathbone was concerned about the number of women in the construction and engineering sector.

The Cardiff Central AM said: "It is noticeable there are only 360 female apprentices compared to 8,300 men, that's one woman for every 23 men."

Ms Sayed said the Equalities and Human Rights Commission has said work is needed to get women "not just into those apprenticeships that women are often linked to historically".

Conservative Mohammad Asghar urged ministers to ensure more diversity in apprenticeships.

"Less than two percent of those on apprenticeships are disabled people," he said.

"Ethnic minority representation on apprenticeship programmes remains static at around three percent of the total."

Image caption Jenny Rathbone said there was a huge need for precision skills in construction and engineering

David Rowlands, a UKIP AM, welcomed the Welsh Government's apprenticeships policy but added: "The test comes, of course, at the end of these apprenticeships, in seeing how many go on to full-time jobs and within the disciplines of their apprenticeships."

Replying to the debate, Mr Waters said the Welsh Government was "on track" to meet its commitment to delivering a minimum of 100,000 "all-age" apprenticeships by the end of the Welsh Assembly term in 2021.

On diversity, and the number of people with disabilities going into apprenticeships, he said that "this is an area across the board that we are not doing well enough in" and added that the "same stands for the gender issue".

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