Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) are absolutely delighted to report a significant growth in the number of female apprentices who have recently enrolled in the Institute, which included an intake in Motor Mechanic, Electrical and Carpentry & Joinery Apprentices over the last 6 months.
Women make up less than 5% of the national apprenticeship numbers, so the recent increase of females registering in the trades heartens the Institute as DkIT is a proud supporter of equality in all industries and fields of education. DkIT is the recipient of the prestigious international Athena SWAN Bronze Award by AdvanceHE in recognition of its commitment to advancing gender equality in academia, and in promoting diversity and inclusion for staff and students in higher education, so breaking gender barriers is something the Institute constantly strives towards.
Dr Breda Brennan, who herself is the first female Head of School of Engineering in DkIT said; “We are absolutely delighted to see the substantial increase of females enrolling in Apprenticeships in the Institute. There are phenomenal opportunities for young women within the trades and we have had numerous extremely talented women who have completed their apprenticeships in electrics, mechanics and carpentry & joinery over the years. We have a long and proud history of female apprentices in DkIT, and we are delighted to report some of these women are now part of our teaching staff”.
She continued “We sincerely welcome all the new female apprentices, and we hope this trend continues as we would love to see more and more females register in trades in the future. The School of Engineering is active in a number of initiatives to increase the participation of females in all our Engineering programmes. We are also working towards an application for Athena Swan accreditation for the School of Engineering too”.
It is worth noting that feedback from a lot of female apprentices in all the trades offered by DkIT report that there are still gender barriers to apprenticeships as a lot of girls are not made aware of the route to trades and sadly are often persuaded against it.
Sabrina Coventry, Phase 6, Motor Mechanic Apprenticeship said “I was always interested in mechanics but was told from a young age that doing a motor mechanic apprenticeship wasn’t for women, so I started a course in nursing but left within a few months as it just wasn’t for me. I then worked in hospitality for a few years, but I kept thinking about becoming a mechanic, so I went back and did my pre-apprenticeship and then went on to start my apprenticeship”. Sabrina added “I love my trade, its hard work but so worth it. Don’t let anyone put you off doing a trade! If you think you might like it, just do it, just get stuck in! Employers are more than willing to take people on for a trial”.
Aoibheann Corrigan who had a slightly different experience to Sabrina and went straight from second level education into her Motor Mechanic Apprenticeship and is now on her phase 4 block said “I grew up around cars and my dad always had vintage cars at home which I loved working on, so starting an apprenticeship always made sense to me, I love training to be a mechanic and I get up every morning looking forward to the day ahead. I know I’m exactly where I should be, following the perfect career for me”.
Both Sabrina and Aoibheann reported that one of the best things about being a female mechanic is when women come into the garage, they have stated they automatically feel more comfortable when they see they are dealing with a female mechanic.
Apprenticeships start with employers – industry input is vital to ensuring this method of progression is available to young people. To obtain an apprenticeship, you must be recruited by a prospective employer who will register you with SOLAS and only then can the training programme begin.
DkIT offers apprenticeships in Electrical, Motor Mechanics, Plumbing and Carpentry in conjunction with the LMETB - Louth and Meath Education and Training Board.
Apprenticeships are an ‘earning and learning’ route to a qualification. The system of employment-based training and education enables a person to obtain the skills, knowledge and education required to satisfactorily perform the core skills of their chosen trade whilst having the opportunity to earn while they learn. Apprenticeship is the recognised means by which people are trained to become crafts people in Ireland. Apprenticeships typically take four years to complete, and the qualification is recognised on the National Framework of Qualifications.