YWT responds to construction skills shortage fears

Wednesday 25 January 2017

Commenting on the Federation of Master Builders survey, which shows that the construction skills shortage is getting worse and has now spread to other key trades, Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said:


“The growing skills shortage in sectors like construction and engineering is all the more reason to support more young women into relevant apprenticeships. But Young Women’s Trust has found that young women across the country are shut out of these sectors. It is shocking that last year, in London, there were no higher level women apprentices in either construction or engineering.

“Supporting young women into these apprenticeships benefits women, benefits businesses and benefits the economy. We need urgent action.

“We would like to see clear pathways made available to young women with low or no qualifications, so they can start apprenticeships and progress to the higher levels. Much greater provision of part-time and flexible apprenticeships would also help young mothers and carers in particular, who often have to balance care with work.”


Notes to editor:

  1. The Federation of Master Builders ‘State of Trade Survey’ for Q4 2016 shows that:
    1. almost half of construction SMEs are reporting difficulties hiring roofers (46 per cent);
    2. shortages of electricians and plasterers are at their highest point in four years;
    3. the SME construction sector has experienced fifteen consecutive quarters of growth.
    4. A recent London Assembly Economy Committee report, ‘Apprenticeships: an un-level playing field’, found that that, despite an increase in the overall apprentice numbers, the current system is struggling to deliver the type of skills and training that London’s employers require. It also shows that there is not equal access to the better quality or higher level apprenticeships, particularly for those from low income backgrounds.
    5. Young Women’s Trust (www.youngwomenstrust.org) supports and represents women aged 16-30 struggling to live on low or no pay in England and Wales and who are at risk of being trapped in poverty.
    6. Young Women’s Trust in 2016 released a report into apprenticeships, ‘Making Apprenticeships Work for Young Women’. The report found that:
      1. Women tend to work in fewer sectors than men.
      2. Women receive lower pay than men; an average of £4.82 an hour compared with £5.854. Male apprentices get paid 21% more per hour, leaving women potentially over £2000 worse off per year.
      3. Women are less likely to receive training as part of their apprenticeship. Young Women’s Trust polling with ComRes found that 7% of young women said they received no training at work, compared to 4% of young men. 23% received no training outside of work, compared to 12% of young men.
      4. Women are more likely to be out of work at the end of their apprenticeship. 16% of women said that they were out of work, compared to 6% of men.
      5. As the Government strives to meet its target of creating 3 million apprentices by the end of this parliament in 2020, action is required to prevent these trends becoming further entrenched. Apprenticeships need to serve young women better and enable the full labour market to benefit from young women’s talents.
      6. The full report can be found here.
      7. Organisations are signing the Young Women’s Trust pledge to commit to improving gender diversity on their apprenticeship programmes. The pledge states that: “Our organisation recognises the value of gender diversity and will take action to increase the representation of young women in our apprenticeship programmes.”
      8. For more information, please contact Bex Bailey on bex.bailey@youngwomenstrust.org or 07963018281.