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The increase in female participation in apprenticeships has been primarily driven by new apprenticeships being created in sectors with a large female workforce such as retail and business admin, rather than an influx of young women into traditionally better paid and male-dominated apprenticeships such as Engineering.
In 2008/9, there were 119,300 female apprenticeship starts out of a total of 239,900 (just under 50%). Table 1 below shows trends in apprenticeship starts and completions by gender in the past six years.
While the percentage of women starting and completing apprenticeships over the past six years is encouragingly high, it is concerning that the trend – at least until 2007-8 – was that the percentage of women starting and completing apprenticeships was in decline. Considering the rapid growth in apprenticeship frameworks such as Business Administration (apprenticeship achievements in Business Administration have increased from 6,600 in 2003-4 to 13,200 in 2008-9, of which 81% were female) in which women are well represented, it is cause for some concern that the overall percentage of apprenticeships completed by women is still in decline.