Apprenticeships are a popular and time-tested method of gaining practical skills and experience in a specific trade or profession. It is a combination of on-the-job training and formal education, which is supervised by a qualified professional in the field. Apprentices in Ireland typically earn between 50-80% of the full-time wage for their chosen profession, with the rate increasing as they progress through their training
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of women pursuing apprenticeships in Ireland. Traditionally, apprenticeships have been considered male-dominated professions, but women are breaking barriers and making strides in these fields.
In 2016, the Apprenticeship Council launched the Action Plan for Apprenticeship, which includes measures to address the under-representation of women in apprenticeships, including a focus on outreach and engagement with girls in secondary schools.
According to SOLAS there has been a steady increase in the number of female apprentices in recent years. In 2015, only 5% of new apprenticeships were taken up by women. By 2019, that number had risen to 8.7%. While this may seem like a small increase, it represents a significant shift in the gender balance of apprenticeships. New updated gender bursary introduced in 2022, providing a financial incentive to employers to hire women apprentices. As of December 2022, 1,946 female apprentices are in training, including 349 women completing craft apprenticeships. Read more about the success of Action Plan for Apprenticeship here.
Despite this progress, there are still challenges that need to be addressed. One issue is the lack of female role models in many of these trades. This can make it difficult for girls to envision themselves in these professions. Another challenge is the perception that these trades are not suitable for women. As more and more women enter these professions, they are breaking down these barriers and paving the way for future generations. This is why it was fantastic to have three of our Kerry College female apprentices highlighted on RTÉ The Today Show earlier this month, bringing the vision of female apprentices to life for women and girls across the country. See video below.