Modern Apprenticeships (MAs) are designed to create a more responsive, motivated workforce. They not only benefit employers by allowing them to grow their own workforce and reduce staff turnover, they also benefit apprentices through allowing them to develop broader, transferable skills as well as job and industry-specific expertise.

No-one doubts the benefits of MAs – so it’s peculiar that there is still such a gender imbalance within apprenticeships. In 2016-17, 60% of new starts were men. Even more worryingly, in the same year, 70% of MA frameworks had a gender balance of 75:25 or worse.

Despite this, and the number of women completing apprenticeships having fallen to the lowest level for seven years according to figures released last year, there remain many great reasons for females to take the apprenticeship route:

  • Personal development – You will undoubtedly expand and improve your own skill-set. You will obtain new skills you didn’t even know you were capable of possessing, and your self-confidence will grow tremendously. On completion of your MA you’ll be a strong-minded and knowledgeable young person with a very valuable year’s worth of experience in your industry
  • No debt – A big point to consider when thinking about an MA is that you won’t be weighed down by tuition fees or debt by the time you graduate. In fact, your employer will be paying you to gain your qualification!
  • You’ll gain qualifications – On completion of your MA, you’ll receive a diploma in your chosen field. Another success to add to your CV!
  • Kick-start your career – MAs have the potential to set you and your future career up. Your apprenticeship could take you anywhere – you just don’t know who you’ll meet or what you’ll achieve on your apprenticeship journey
  • Become an essential part of the team – There will be no tea-making and endless photocopying as an MA. Employers benefit greatly from having well-trained apprentices. This means that employers can guide and train apprentices until they are a skilled and reliable part of the workforce, increasing the chances of them staying on with the business

Here at Fife College, we have a whole host of success stories in which female MAs are able to begin their journey a successful career in their industry of choice.

Olivia Burley is determined to build herself a career in Engineering and Energy. As a female Modern Apprentice in this male-dominated industry, Olivia feels strongly that she should use her experience to inform and encourage other females to consider a career in STEM subjects – especially through apprenticeships.

“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I left school,” explained Olivia, “So when I learned of the College’s Shell’s Girls in Energy School College Partnership course, I was enthusiastic about participating and seeing if a career in the engineering industry was for me.”

Spurred on by this positive introduction to the industry, Olivia is now a Manufacturing Apprentice with Leonardo, a global high-tech company and one of the key players in Aerospace, Defence, and Security.

And Olivia credits Girls in Energy with opening her eyes to an industry she now loves. “Girls in Energy helped me to make a decision on what career path I wanted to take and prepared me for the work that I would be doing during my apprenticeship.

“I really enjoy my job and love getting to see the different departments and types of engineering that goes into the work we do.”

Another apprentice determined to show the benefits of this vocational route to employment is Rebecca Porter.

Rebecca is currently an Automotive Apprentice with Flear and Thomson Fiat in Dunfermline. 

“From a young age I always wanted to work with cars,” said Rebecca, “I’ve always helped my dad to work on cars. He’s not a mechanic himself but he has always done bits and bobs around cars and I got hooked that way.”

In order to secure a place on an apprenticeship in her sector, Rebecca studied full-time courses first. “I attended Fife College full-time for two years to gain qualifications and look for an apprenticeship. A recruiter then came into class and asked if anyone was interested in an apprenticeship with Flear and Thomson so I put myself forward and that was that.”

Over her two years at the College, Rebecca studied IMI Award: Transport Maintenance IMI Level 1 and IMI Certificate: Transport Maintenance IMI Level 2 and enjoyed both courses. “My time at Fife College was really good – and really valuable.

“The qualifications and skills I gained over the course of those two years were crucial to me getting onto the apprenticeship. I learned a lot over those two years and it really did set me up for the work I do now as an apprentice.”

Rebecca is now almost finished her apprenticeship and is looking forward to her next challenge.

“Once I’ve finished my apprenticeship and I’m fully qualified, my immediate plan is to continue as a mechanic. Longer term, though, I’d like to do factory maintenance work and work with big machinery. I’d have to do further study for this but there are lots of transferable skills from what I do now that I can take with me into this.”

Want more information about becoming a Modern Apprentice? visit our MA webpage.

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