Press release

Apprenticeships no longer just 'jobs for the boys'

More than a million women started apprenticeships between 2010 to 2011 and 2013 to 2014.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


The Deputy Prime Minister is today (Wednesday 11 March) marking National Apprenticeship Week by celebrating the phenomenal growth of women taking up apprenticeships over the last 5 years. Having lagged behind men in the last parliament, the latest figures show that more than 1 million women started apprenticeships between 2010 to 2011 and 2013 to 2014 compared to just 400,000 in the first 4 years of the last parliament.

The number of women starting an apprenticeship has also outstripped men by more than 130,000 since 2010. Over 1.1 million women have started apprenticeships since 2010 to 2011 compared to 972,000 men.

Furthermore, the number of women starting apprenticeships in business, administration and law has almost trebled, with over 370,000 women beginning apprenticeships in this sector between 2010 to 2011 and 2013 to 2014 compared to just 130,000 between 2005 to 2006 and 2008 to 2009. Over the same periods, the number of women starting a career in education through an apprenticeship has soared from just over 1,000 to over 20,000.

Since 2010, the total number of people starting apprenticeships has doubled, with over 2 million apprenticeships starting in England during this parliament. The number of people starting apprenticeships in business and law each year has increased by over 60% since 2010, with starts in engineering and manufacturing apprenticeships growing by over 50%.

Today, the Deputy Prime Minister will welcome 40 apprentices from the banking, insurance and legal services to learn about their experiences of earning whilst they learn.

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

These encouraging statistics show that we are starting to see an end to the barely concealed snobbery of people thinking apprenticeships aren’t the path to a good career. In fact, they are becoming the first choice for earning and learning.

The fact that we’re seeing more women seizing the opportunity is proof that apprenticeships are no longer seen as ‘jobs for the boys’, whilst also marking a positive new era where university is no longer seen as the only option.

But there is still work to be done. I’m proud to see more apprenticeships being created across industries of all kinds, but I will continue to push for young people to have a growing range of vocational opportunities when they leave school.

Notes to editors

Female apprenticeship starts by sector Total female starts, 2005/06-2008/09 Total female starts, 2010/11 - 2013/14 Extra female apprenticeship starts in first 4 years of this parliament vs first 4 years of last parliament
Agriculture, horticulture and animal care 8,970 10,630 1,660
Arts, media and publishing 210 1,860 1,650
Business, administration and law 133,680 373,070 239,390
Construction, planning and the built environment 1,610 1,250 -360
Education and training 1,520 20,190 18,670
Engineering and manufacturing technologies 4,810 18,180 13,370
Health, public services and care 98,150 345,570 247,420
Information and communication technology 6,860 14,360 7,500
Leisure, travel and tourism 12,460 21,040 8,580
Retail and commercial enterprise 120,420 227,550 107,310
Grand total 388,690 1,033,700 645,010
Published 11 March 2015