Proud of your Apprenticeship Delivery, Apprentices, Services your Organisation: 1st Years Platinum Membership £75.00
Posted on 22/02/2018 in Apprenticeship Sector News Stories

Lack of part-time apprenticeships reduces access to women

Lack of part-time apprenticeships reduces access to women

A shortage of flexible and part-time apprenticeship programmes mean that people who are unable to work full time are missing out on training opportunities, according to a report.

Only one in 10 apprentices are contracted to work for less than 30 hours a week, according to a report published today by the Young Women’s Trust, the Trust for London, Timewise and the Learning and Work Institute, meaning many people took up low-skilled work instead.

It said the lack of part-time apprenticeships left many people – particularly women, disabled people, people with caring responsibilities and young people leaving the care system – unable to train or find work at all.

Apprenticeship levy

Can we make the apprenticeship levy work harder?

What will employers be able to spend apprenticeship levy funding on?

The report found that a scarcity of flexible and part-time apprenticeships in sectors like engineering, IT and construction meant that women often opted for apprenticeships in lower-paid sectors such as social care and beauty.

The authors said this contributed to an apprentice gender pay gap of 8%.

A YouGov poll commissioned by the Young Women’s Trust discovered that 54% of employers would be willing to offer part-time apprenticeships, including 65% of employers in the public sector.

Today’s report shows that employers see huge potential for part-time apprenticeships to increase diversity. Polling done by YouGov for Young Women’s Trust showed that more than half of employers (54 per cent) would be willing to offer part-time apprenticeships, including 65 per cent of those in the public sector.

Despite these findings and some excellent examples of employers making part-time apprenticeships work, many employers wrongly continue to believe there is no demand or that part-time apprenticeships would be difficult to administer. Meanwhile, potential apprentices found that resources such as the Government’s ‘Find an Apprenticeship’ service did not allow them to search for part-time apprenticeships, meaning many thought they were simply not available.

The organisations behind the research now hope to develop and test a model of part-time apprenticeships that will benefit both businesses that are experiencing skills shortages and those looking to get back into work or progress their careers on a part time basis. 

Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said:

“The growing skills shortage in sectors like construction and engineering is all the more reason to support more young women into relevant apprenticeships. But Young Women’s Trust has found that young women across the country are shut out of apprenticeships due to a lack of flexible working. 

“Supporting young women into these apprenticeships benefits women, businesses and the economy. We need urgent action. Much greater provision of part-time and flexible apprenticeships would help young mothers and carers in particular, who often have to balance care with work.” 

Timewise Joint CEO, Emma Stewart MBE, said: “Our new report today highlights a fundamental problem when it comes to making more apprenticeships accessible: they are designed based on a full-time, 9 to 5 basis. However, with almost 9 in 10 of the UK’s full-time workforce either currently working flexibly, or wanting to, addressing how more apprenticeships can be available on a part-time and flexible basis is crucial.  

Transform how apprenticeships are designed, and there is real potential to unlock access to skills, better pay and career progression for the millions who need to fit both earning AND learning with other life needs. And for employers, opening-up more part-time and flexible apprenticeships will also help create more diverse workplaces, reduce gender inequalities and tackle skills shortages.” 

Stephen Evans, Chief Executive at Learning and Work Institute, said: 

“Apprenticeships are a great way for people to combine earning and learning, and for employers to meet their skills needs. But Learning and Work Institute has found that lack of flexible apprenticeship opportunities are preventing people from taking up apprenticeships and limiting employers' talent pool.

“Yet this is not down to lack of interest from employers or individuals. We need a major drive from government and employers to translate this interest into action. Flexible working is well established in many employers and sectors, and part-time learning is commonplace. We need to make flexible apprenticeships much more business as usual too.” 

Bharat Mehta CBE, Chief Executive at Trust for London, said:  

“Wasting the talents of so many people because of a lack of part-time apprentices does not make sense. We need more employers to follow the lead of those forward-thinking businesses that are already reaping the rewards of having access to a wider talent pool as a result of offering more flexible options for apprentices.” 



Notes to editor: 

About Young Women’s Trust

Young Women's Trust supports and represents women aged 16-30 struggling to live on low or no pay in England and Wales and who are at risk of being trapped in poverty. 

About Timewise 

Timewise logo  002



Timewise ( is a multi-award winning social business and leading change agent for the flexible recruitment market in the UK. 

Experts in flexible hiring, with over 12 years of experience, Timewise is led by founders Karen Mattison and Emma Stewart, who have been made MBEs and won a range of awards for their wider work.

Timewise undertakes a range of activities to articulate the business benefits of quality part time and flexible work, designed to boost the number of jobs that are advertised with flexible working possibilities in the UK, and provides a range of advisory and recruitment services for employers. 

About Learning and Work Institute

LW feat logo


Learning and Work Institute is an independent policy and research organisation dedicated to lifelong learning, full employment and inclusion. It brings together over 90 years of combined history and heritage from the ‘National Institute of Adult Continuing Education’ (NIACE) and the ‘Centre for Economic & Social Inclusion’. 

It wants everyone to have an opportunity to realise their ambitions and potential in learning, work and throughout life. It believes a better skilled workforce, in better paid jobs, is good for business, good for the economy, and good for society.

About Trust for London 

trust for london



Trust for London is an independent charitable foundation. It aims to tackle poverty and inequality in London and does this by: funding voluntary and charity groups – each year it makes grants totalling around £7.5 million and at any one time is supporting up to 400 organisations; funding independent research; and providing knowledge and expertise on London’s social issues to policymakers and journalists. 


For more information, please contact Bex Bailey on or 07963018281.

Contact This Member