National Apprenticeship Week 2015 – starts with ‘ApprenticeSWAP’ at ACE

We’re raring to go as it’s National Apprenticeship Week this week, starting tomorrow. We’re getting things underway with a fantastic ‘ApprenticeSWAP’ with our great friends at Introtrain & Forum Ltd who are a fantastic Hair & Beauty training provider in Oxford. We are especially honoured that we will be visited by the Minister for Business, Enterprise & Energy Matthew Hancock and our local MP, Nicola Blackwood.

The ApprenticeSWAP will see female hairdressing Apprentices from Introtrain step into the boots of male construction Apprentices for the first part of the morning, before we all move down the Introtrain to swap roles. As well as being a fun activity, it is also a way of looking at gender stereotyping in those industries. While the construction industry experiencing a major skills shortage, it’s estimated that the number of females in trade occupations is as low as 2%. Similarly young men doing Apprenticeships in Hair and Beauty professions are still in the minority. We did this during National Apprenticeship Week in 2013 which is where the picture comes from but we know it’s going to be ever better this time!

Partly through funding from Oxfordshire City Deal via the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, we will soon be launching a new ‘Girls Allowed’ programme to actively engage females through a series of activities including site visits, taster sessions and involvement of role models in tackling some of the issues that currently prevent construction being viewed as a viable or attractive option.

It’s a great delight for us to be able to talk to the Minister and Miss Blackwood about our work at ACE as well as that of our sister companies ‘ABC Oxford Ltd’ (the ‘Apprentice Building Company’) set up in 2013 and also the new ‘Wheels 2 Work Oxford’ moped lease scheme for Apprentices.

And we’re not the only ones excited about it. Carolyn Della-Ragione, Managing Director of Introtrain & Forum Ltd, said “We are incredibly excited about the ApprenticeSWAP and honoured that the Minister and MP are lending their support in this way. Gender stereotypes affect both ourselves and ACE Training considerably in terms of our intake of learners and ability to supply Apprentices to local businesses. This restricts the development of a rich and diverse skills pool in both sectors, and the ApprenticeSWAP is a great way of starting to ask pertinent questions about why young people make certain assumptions and choices when it comes to career planning.”

Follow the progress on Twitter @training_ace and @introtrainhair

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