‘Fact’s, Faces, Futures’

Why more women and girls are building rewarding careers with Generation Apprenticeship

A new campaign from the National Apprenticeship Office highlights the skills, talent and contributions made by female apprentices across Ireland, encouraging more women to build exciting futures with Generation Apprenticeship.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris with students from Our Lady’s School Terenure to celebrate International Women’s Day where a talk and Q & A on apprenticeship opportunities with students and staff was held. As part of the event a 2023 initiative promoting apprenticeship opportunities in girls schools around the country was also announced, called ‘Facts, Faces, Futures’. ‘Facts, Faces, Futures’ is a campaign which will be led by the National Apprenticeship Office to communicate the growing participation and leadership of women and girls in careers available through apprenticeship. PIC JULIEN BEHAL PHOTOGRAPHY

To mark the recent milestone registration of the 3000th female apprentice in Ireland, the National Apprenticeship Office has launched an exciting new Generation Apprenticeship campaign, showcasing the ‘Facts, Faces, Futures’ of women in apprenticeship. 

This future-focused campaign engages girls schools’ across Ireland and wider society to celebrate female apprentices as leaders and role models, while drawing important focus to the possibilities that Generation Apprenticeship careers offer to women and girls, with the overall aim of encouraging greater participation. 

From roles as diverse and exciting as Engineers to Commis Chefs, Financial Analysts to Electricians, more and more females are choosing Generation Apprenticeship to build lucrative and rewarding careers.

Facts, Faces, Futures of women in apprenticeships:

Facts: Up until 2016, there were less than 30 females choosing the apprenticeship route annually. However more and more females are choosing the apprenticeship route with 966 female apprentices registering in 2022 and the numbers growing each year.

Faces: Women are qualifying as chefs, cyber security specialists, plumbers, auctioneers, supply chain managers and more. Apprenticeship is packed with role models and success stories.

Futures: More and more girls and young women in school can take inspiration from these role models, seeing what they can be and shaping their future careers.

Paving a bright future with Apprenticeship

To take just one example, meet Petra O’Flaherty – who is an 8th generation Stonemason and Stonecutter, and the first female Stonemason apprentice since 1992, currently working and training in Co. Kerry. Named after the famous archaeological wonder in Jordan, it’s quite fitting that Petra chose to build a career that is well and truly woven throughout her family history.

Commenting on why she chose this career, Petra says: “My family are in the business, I would have grown up around it. But it’s something that just kind of took over my life and I was really interested in it. I went for the jump and I’m delighted I did.”

Petra is hugely encouraging of female students in choosing the apprenticeship route, and is proud to represent women in apprenticeship, understanding the adage that “if you can’t see it, you can’t be it”. If she had one message for female students across Ireland, it’s: “You are completely capable.”

On her future, she says, “When I qualify, I want to travel with my apprenticeship, try out stonemasonry there, use their stone and tools and see what it’s like,  I want to broaden my horizons.”

More than education

The spirit and ethos behind Generation Apprenticeship is about more than just education and training, or developing skills across 66 flagship career programmes – it’s also about people, and the talented people who make up a rich community of 26,000 apprentices around the country. 

Within this diverse community, just 3,000 women have chosen to develop their careers via apprenticeship in recent years. While there has been a significant increase in the number of women developing their careers and futures via Generation Apprenticeship, and progress has been achieved, there is much more to do.

 The increase in female participation year on year is extremely heartening, thanks to the efforts of guidance counsellors, teachers, parents and those within the apprenticeship system – educators and employers alike – in promoting uptake and demonstrating all the great benefits that apprenticeship offers, such as earning while you learn and developing industry connections from day one.

66 career areas

There are now 66 in-demand careers across Generation Apprenticeship in exciting areas like engineering, recruitment, biopharma, hairdressing alongside traditional craft trades. 

Not only has the breadth of options never been better, and continues to expand, but there are supports in place to encourage more employers to come on stream, such as the gender bursary, meaning that even more great businesses are providing apprenticeship options nationwide. 

With an apprenticeship, you can work for a large multi-national or the small enterprise down the road – the possibilities really are endless. 

You can discover more inspirational stories of Ireland’s female apprentices building skills across a diverse range of industries, as well as information on programmes, in industries as diverse as pharma, food and hospitality to sales, finance and craft, plus lots more online at www.apprenticeship.ie.

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