DIT hopes to address the lack of gender diversity in apprenticeships by piloting a pre-apprenticeship scheme geared towards young women.
Dublin Institute Technology (DIT), Ireland’s largest provider of apprenticeship training schemes, has announced that it will host an open day called ‘Young Women in Apprenticeships’ at DIT Linenhall tomorrow (15 March).
The aim of the event is to encourage more young women to consider a career in a craft trade, and inform potential applicants about DIT’s Access to Apprenticeships programme.
Exhibitors at the open day will include several large Irish employers interested in hiring women apprentices in the transport, electrical, engineering and construction sectors.
Those in attendance will have the opportunity to tour DIT classrooms and workshops, and speak to DIT staff one-on-one about the different kinds of apprenticeships that might suit their interests.
A number of seminars featuring hiring employers and women working in trades in many sectors will also be scheduled throughout the day.
Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton, TD, launched the Access to Apprenticeship pilot programme in DIT last July. Supported by JP Morgan and ESB, the programme was developed to address the obstacles faced by young people from areas of socioeconomic disadvantage in securing an apprenticeship.
When developers of the programme became aware of how few women were enrolling in apprenticeships, however, they elected to create this event with the specific aim of correcting the gender disparity.
Current figures estimate that less than 1pc of those engaged in craft trade apprenticeship schemes are women. There are only 52 women enrolled in State apprenticeships versus 9,535 men.
“The scheme runs for 12 weeks, during which young women can find out for themselves what is involved in being an apprentice,” explained Joe Teehan, coordinator of the pilot programme in DIT.
“For instance, the Skill Sampling module introduces hands-on experience in a number of apprenticeship areas.
“The course also includes a two-week work placement with an employer in a sector of their choice – an invaluable experience which helps applicants understand what is expected of them before they commit to an apprenticeship.”
Participants will also be encouraged to develop their soft skills. “DIT will work with each participant as they complete personal development modules developed to improve their self-confidence so that they are ready for interviews with potential employers and, ultimately, their first weeks and months on the job.”
For more information, those interested can visit the Access to Apprenticeship programme website here.