Young women at computer

Women and BAME people losing out in apprenticeship race

16 January 2017
  • Since 2010 over 140,000 young Londoners between 16 and 24 started an apprenticeship. The majority of apprenticeship starts are women and around 40 per cent are people from Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.[2]
  • However, there is evidence that apprentices from BAME backgrounds are not getting the full benefit of apprenticeship training. BAME and female apprentices tend to be clustered in low level, low pay apprenticeships.
  • Worryingly, more than a quarter of all apprentices fail to finish their training. Achievement rates are declining more quickly for BAME apprentices.
  • London needs more highly skilled apprentices. In 2015-16 just 2,720 higher apprenticeships were started in London (about six per cent of all apprenticeship starts).[3]
  • London is the worst performing region for apprentices in the construction sector and in 2014 there were no women taking a higher level apprenticeship in either construction or engineering.[4]
  • Despite its growing importance to the London economy the tech sector was the second worst sector for providing apprenticeships in the capital.

The London Assembly Economy Committee publishes its report today, ‘Apprenticeships: an un-level playing field’, which sets out a number of key recommendations to the Mayor to help improve the number of quality apprenticeships in London:

  • The Mayor should avoid setting a purely numerical target for apprenticeships, but instead focus on quality rather than quantity.
  • The Mayor should direct the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP) to publish annual, London-specific data, which includes the number of apprenticeship starts with success rates broken down by gender, ethnicity, disability, age, sector and qualification.
  • The Mayor should guarantee a fair skills funding settlement for London and establish what role apprenticeships can play in closing the long-term skills gap.
  • The Mayor should push for an independent careers advice service in London, which encourages young people into the right vocational training in terms of the skills gap.

Fiona Twycross AM, Chair of the Economy Committee, said:

“Quality not quantity is needed when it comes to apprenticeships in London.

To deal with a worsening skills gap and the likely impact of Brexit, we must better train our young people, especially women and those from a Black Asian and Minority Ethnic background, so they are ready for jobs in London’s key sectors such as tech and construction.

The London Assembly Economy Committee wants to see the Mayor of London really get to grips with this in his skills strategy – for London to be a city for all Londoners, it’s essential we improve apprenticeships, so they are better quality, at higher levels and with improved success rates for all.“


Economy Committee Chair, Fiona Twycross AM and Economy Committee Member Caroline Russell AM will meet with representatives from Westminster Kingsway College to discuss how the college supports apprentices during their apprenticeship and afterwards in securing jobs.

Apprentice case study interviews available upon request

Location: Westminster Kingsway College, Victoria Centre
Time: 4:00pm-5:00pm
Address: Vincent Square, London, SW1P 2PD
Nearest station: Victoria (Underground)

Notes to editors

  1. ‘Apprenticeships: an un-level playing field’ report below.
  2. Apprenticeships Starts and Completions, Region and Local Authority, London Datastore
  3. Data provided in response to Mayor’s Question MQ 2016/4968
  4. Data provided in response to Mayor’s Question MQ 2016/4970
  5. Fiona Twycross AM, Chair of the London Assembly Economy Committee, is available for interview. Please see contact details below.
  6. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.


For media enquiries, please contact Lisa Lam on 020 7983 4067.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officerNon-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.

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