Construction and Engineering (Apprenticeships)

Enterprise, Lifelong Learning and Transport – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:15 pm on 1st March 2007.

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Photo of Charlie Gordon Charlie Gordon Labour 2:15 pm, 1st March 2007

To ask the Scottish Executive whether it promotes entry to apprenticeships in the construction and engineering industries by women and ethnic minority people and whether it will provide figures for those categories in those industries, as a proportion of total apprenticeships available. (S2O-12222)

Photo of Nicol Stephen Nicol Stephen Liberal Democrat

The modern apprenticeship programme is open to all people over 16 who are employed. Employers are encouraged to recruit from as wide a base as possible. Along with the enterprise networks, Careers Scotland and the sector skills councils, we actively promote apprenticeships for women and ethnic minority groups.

Although the Executive does not keep the information requested, the most recent published information on the enterprise networks website shows that 1 per cent of people who have entered into construction modern apprenticeships are female and that 1.5 per cent of people who have entered into engineering modern apprenticeships are female. The enterprise networks do not break the figures down by ethnic group.

Photo of Charlie Gordon Charlie Gordon Labour

Does the minister agree that those figures are nothing to write home about? Will he therefore discuss with the sector skills councils and other stakeholders how the proportions can be improved?

Photo of Nicol Stephen Nicol Stephen Liberal Democrat

We acknowledge that the proportions are lower than any members want them to be. Therefore, we have put in place a range of initiatives that will attempt to change attitudes to career choices, including the career box programme, which helps to challenge young people's attitudes towards and perceptions of particular occupations, and the step into construction programme, which runs throughout the United Kingdom and helps to recruit adult ethnic minorities and women into the workforce. In the past 12 months, the step into construction programme has trebled the number of women and people from an ethnic minority background who have entered into a modern apprenticeship in Scotland.