Apprenticeship Featured Industry News

Empowering women in trades: JTL champions diversity in the industry

JTL, a leading apprenticeship provider in England and Wales, is championing the inclusion of more women in the electrical and plumbing and heating trades, addressing the growing demand for diversity in these industries. 

JTL campaigns for a diverse and inclusive workforce, and apprenticeships are a brilliant way for people of all ages, genders and abilities to kickstart their careers. Continuing to encourage women to complete apprenticeships is about so much more than continuing work to bridge elements of the gender pay gap, which can be seen clearly in sectors where females and males are ‘visible through their absence’.  More importantly, this is about supporting the next generation of trade professionals to carve a career for themselves in the building services engineering sector; a sector where UK skills shortages mean there are real opportunities for both school leavers and mature candidates to embark on a career in a highly skilled and well-paid job.

A recent study by My Local Toolbox revealed a notable rise in the number of consumers actively seeking tradeswomen for their projects. This indicates a shifting preference towards a more diverse workforce in the trade industries:

– 11% of female homeowners expressed a preference for hiring a tradeswoman. Comments from respondents highlighted that they often feel more at ease and secure when engaging with a tradeswoman

– 26% of homeowners have previously hired a tradeswoman, showcasing a growing trend in the acceptance and employment of tradeswomen

– A significant 96% of homeowners expressed their willingness to hire a tradeswoman, underscoring the strong demand for greater diversity in the trades

– A dramatic volume increase on Google search queries for ‘lady plumber near me’ (+450%) and ‘lady electrician near me’ (+50%)

However, according to ONS, currently only around 2% of tradespeople in the building services engineering sector are women. This statistic underscores the necessity for concerted efforts to inspire and support more women to explore and pursue careers in this sector.

Encouragingly, there has been a positive trajectory in the number of women beginning construction-related apprenticeships in recent years. One shining example of this trend is Demi Whitehead, a JTL electrotechnical apprentice for William Davis Homes, who has emerged as one of eight UK-based apprentices to reach the finals of World Skills SkillELECTRIC UK. This achievement is a testament to the talent and potential that women bring to the trade sectors.

Demi Whitehead, JTL apprentice, commented: “I find it really rewarding to represent women in the trades and to also see year-on-year growth of like-minded apprentices joining the industry too. As a young girl, I always aspired to be an electrician, fast forward five years, I stand here defying gender stereotypes and conquering every challenge that comes my way, just as any male electrician would.

“My advice to other women who are looking at starting a career in the trades is to go for it and have a determined mindset. In my view, the apprenticeship route is the most promising path. I’ve not only received valuable support from JTL, as my training provider, but also from my company and college. This comprehensive support system makes it the optimal choice for aspiring tradeswomen.”

Rachel Jagger-Thomas, Diversity, Safeguarding & Inclusion Advisor at JTL, added: “At JTL, we are committed to encouraging the sector to continually challenge itself in terms of working to be more reflective of the modern British society that we live in. Fostering a more inclusive and diverse workforce in the trades is an obvious way to do this. 

“By encouraging and supporting more women to embark on electrical and plumbing and heating apprenticeships, we aim to bridge the skills gap and create a more balanced and vibrant industry.”

To find out more about JTL’s apprenticeship programmes and to apply, please visit here.