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Gender divide larger than ever as apprenticeship schemes fail to break down boundaries

The gender stereotype is still prominent in apprenticeship schemes, according to a new study

Of 1,000 mid level construction apprenticeships in London in 2014/15, just 30 went to women

Men still lead in construction and engineering and women in health, education and retail when it comes to London's apprenticeships.

New analysis carried out by the London Assembly showed gender splits have remained firmly in place, with stereotypes continuing to influence the male to female ratio of apprenticeships in certain industries.

The report led to Mayor Boris Johnson being criticised by Labour Assembly members for "failing to fix that divide".

The findings revealed that of 1,000 mid level construction apprenticeships in London in 2014/15, just 30 went to women.

In engineering, the picture was equally bleak with women taking only 280 intermediate level apprenticeships of 2,810, a mere 10%.

Men are also continuing to miss out in areas such as health and education, historically viewed as ‘female industries’.

There were 5,810 intermediate level apprenticeships in health, public services and care last year, but just 1,020 went to male applicants.

In education, only 40 of 260 intermediate level apprenticeships went to men, accounting for 15%.

At an advanced level the gender split appears to be more extreme, with all higher level apprenticeships in London’s construction and engineering industries going solely to men last year.

The news comes after the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, conceded that he would miss his target to establish 250,000 apprenticeship starts by 2016.

New government figures showed 142,340 apprenticeships have been created since the Mayor’s pledge in 2012, leaving him over 100,000 short of his target figure with just three months to go.

Labour Longon Assembly member Dr Onkar Sahota said: "Apprenticeships in London are marred by a serious gender split and Boris Johnson is completely culpable of failing to fix that divide.

"Not only is the Mayor on course to miss his apprenticeships target by an embarrassingly long stretch but in eight years he’s stood back and allowed gender divides to become firmly entrenched."

He added: "The Mayor’s negligence hasn’t only failed young people who have been left unable to carve out the career they’d hoped for, he’s allowed untapped skills to circle down the drain and robbed London’s industries of many potential benefits.

“Boris’ doing-nothingism will leave any new Mayor with an uphill battle to bridge the gender divide.”

But a spokesperson for the Mayor said: "The Mayor is committed to ensuring every Londoner has the opportunity to take part in the economic success of our city, and his drive for that to happen has seen nearly a quarter of a million apprentices begin work in London since 2010.

"The number of young men and women who start an apprenticeship has more than doubled in the last four years alone and ‎the Mayor is working hard to ensure that all Londoners are given the opportunity to start an apprenticeship in whatever field they choose.

"That commitment to gender equality is precisely why he recently launched a Digital Talent Programme that will promote courses and apprenticeships in the creative, digital and technology sectors to women.

"In addition, Transport for London , its supply chain and Crossrail have created 6,000 apprenticeship roles and are committed to bridging the gender gap through working with schools and industry bodies to encourage more women to consider apprenticeships as a career option.”

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