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Leeds Apprenticeship Project

A project undertaken in Leeds to promote apprenticeships to young women, parents/carers and employers

WISE has been working with Leeds City Council on a project to raise awareness of STEM careers and in particular STEM Apprenticeships. The main project aims are to:

  • Raise awareness amongst parents and carers about the benefits of a STEM apprenticeship for young women
  • Disseminate good practice and practical advice from the WISE Apprenticeship toolkit content to Leeds employers and training providers aiming to recruit more women into STEM apprenticeships.


In the UK today, the STEM worker shortfall is estimated to be approximately 69,000 per year. Women, who currently make up only 21% of the STEM workforce in the UK, are an obvious pool of talent which could help to plug skills shortages.

Whilst the number of women taking key STEM apprenticeships has increased over the past four years, the proportion of female apprenticeships remains small: currently women represent only 5% of all technical apprentices. In 2014/15, Females represented 11% (1,660) of apprenticeships started in ICT, 7.6% (2,610) of starts in Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies and just 2.1% (520) of starts in Construction, Planning & the Built Environment.

As well as demonstrating a chronic lack of diversity in the STEM workforce and STEM related apprenticeships specifically, these figures are a real challenge for the city and the city region. Recent growth in the digital and technology industry has created severe skills shortages and gaps which are constraining growth. The growth of infrastructure and construction projects in the city/city region, including major projects such as High Speed 2 rail, cannot be met by the current capacity of the construction workforce, a challenge which is likely to be exacerbated by the impact of the UK’s exit from the European Union and the loss of skilled labour. The engineering sector locally, as nationally, faces a crisis as generations of experienced employees retire from the sector with insufficient replacement supply.

Increasing the volume of young women more aware of and entering STEM professions will significantly contribute to alleviating these critical skills shortages and gaps, improving productivity and economic performance. The advent of the Apprenticeship Levy in April 2017 offers a further opportunity to tackle some of these skills shortages and gaps, as employers liable for the levy expand their apprentice workforce. Capitalising on this by promoting the potential of young women to play a productive part in the STEM labour market through apprenticeships is therefore timely.


WISE Employer Breakfast (Bridging the gap) - Monday 15 June 2017

The workshop exclusively for STEM employers based in the Leeds economic region who want to recruit the brightest and the best talent for their apprenticeships and to access the full talent pool.

The following companies attended:

  • Network Rail
  • Sky
  • Primeast LTD
  • York College
  • Hilti GB
  • Northern Powergrid
  • Siemens PLC
  • LexisNexis
  • Incommunities
  • MPM Ltd
  • Not just an FD Ltd
  • The Apprentice Finder
  • KNH

People Like Me sessions

Allerton High School - 21 June 2017

Woodkirk Academy - 12 July 2017

Next session!
Temple Moor High School and Science College - 20 September 2017. If you are interested in getting involved in this event as a role model, please get in touch with Shagufta s.sharif@wisecampaign.org.uk


Bam Nuttall - Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme - 26 July 2017

SCP Transport - 29 September

SCP were proud to hold an open doors event with WISE. A group of 12 girls from local schools came to the SCP Leeds office to learn about the careers and futures in Transport Planning, Infrastructure Design and Civil Engineering Construction. Read more

  • Arcadis - TBC
  • Northern Powergrid - TBC
  • Sky -TBC

To find out more about this project, run something similar or to get involved with the site visits, please get in touch with Shagufta s.sharif@wisecampaign.org.uk

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