Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Modern Apprenticeships: Training for the Boys?

Media Release
8 December 2003

Modern Apprenticeship Scheme: Training for the Boys?

The number of young women in the Modern Apprenticeships Scheme needs to increase if the scheme is to be truly "modern", says the Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Dr Judy McGregor.

"There are also too few Màori and Pacific Peoples represented in the scheme which is very well resourced with public money".

A report, "Modern Apprenticeships: Training for the Boys?" released today, suggests that the unequal participation reflects strong traditional imbalances in many industries. Only 6.6 % of apprentices were women. While Màori represent 14 % of total apprentices reflecting national population statistics, Màori female participation at 9% compared to 91% of Màori men is poor. While Pacific females are 20% of total Pacific Peoples participation, they only represent 1.9% to total modern apprentices.

"Modern Apprenticeships are a success story but we need to ensure that the scheme has the widest possible representation. What we don't want to see is the scheme perpetuating occupational segregation of young women in low paid, unskilled work because we as a society don't think outside the square about what it is girls can do," Dr McGregor said.

"Skilled trades are essential to the knowledge society so we need to know that meaningful opportunities to participate in a progressive employment strategy are available for women as well as men."

The marginal participation of women means they are denied equitable access to government resources given that the scheme is so well funded and the small number of women participating means that the initiative lacked gender equity in its design so that it mirrors the occupational stereotyping of previous apprenticeship schemes. Industries with the largest numbers of Modern Apprenticeships are dominated by males with building and construction, engineering, motor trade, electro-technology and forestry having 98% or more male apprentices. Only with agriculture, horticulture, bakery, hospitality and printing is the balance less than 85% male.

The low participation of women in Modern Apprenticeships results from reasons like entrenched gender barriers in some of the participating industries that make them unattractive to women, young women choosing educational pathways into tertiary study instead of trades work, and parental stereotypes that apprenticeships are for non-academic young men.

The report, written by Dr McGregor and Lance Gray of Massey University, contains a range of recommendations which include:

* the provision of incentives for the recruitment of young women, Màori and Pacific Peoples,

* a review of the funding criteria for Modern Apprenticeships,

* reporting against targets for more diverse participation by Modern Apprenticeships Co-ordinators,

* the promotion to parents as a pathway for young women, Màori and Pacific peoples,

* ensuring that the information and marketing of Modern Apprenticeships is relevant to community groups that focus on employment issues for target groups,

* encouraging increased numbers of public sector apprenticeships of women, Màori and Pacific Peoples.

A copy of the report can be found on the HRC web site:

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

Legendary Bassist David Friesen Plays Wellington’s Newest Jazz Venue

Friesen is touring New Zealand to promote his latest album Another Time, Another Place, recorded live at Auckland's Creative Jazz Club in 2015. More>>

Howard Davis Review: The Father - Descending Into The Depths of Dementia

Florian Zeller's dazzling drama The Father explores the effects of a deeply unsettling illness that affects 62,000 Kiwis, a number expected to grow to 102,000 by 2030. More>>

Howard Davis Review: Blade Runner Redivivus

When Ridley Scott's innovative, neo-noir, sci-fi flick Blade Runner was originally released in 1982, at a cost of over $45 million, it was a commercial bomb. More>>

14-21 October: New Zealand Improv Festival In Wellington

Imagined curses, Shibuya’s traffic, the apocalypse, and motherhood have little in common, but all these and more serve as inspiration for the eclectic improvised offerings coming to BATS Theatre this October for the annual New Zealand Improv Festival. More>>


Bird Of The Year Off To A Flying Start

The competition asks New Zealanders to vote for their favourite bird in the hopes of raising awareness of the threats they face. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books:
Jenny Abrahamson's John & Charles Enys: Castle Hill Runholders, 1864-1891

This volume will be of interest to a range of readers interested in the South Island high country, New Zealand’s natural environment, and the history of science. More>>