TheConnect Trade Union voted unanimously at the union’s first conference on 6th October to launch campaign to get more women involved in apprenticeships.
The union was established in January this year. It is the largest organisation for craft workers in the country. Its members are employed in technical, engineering, electrical and construction sectors.
The motion called upon the union to work with organisations to promote and campaign for a greater uptake of apprenticeships by women.
Paddy Kavanagh, General Secretary for Connect Trade Union said, “The latest figures available are the 2017 figures which show a miserable 0.33% (33 out of 10000) of apprentices in the trades are female.
“This is expected to increase as new apprenticeships are rolled out. This figure reflects our membership numbers for females working in the trades. Our ratio of female members is higher at just under three per cent.
“This is down to the fact that as we organise all engineering workers most of these female members would be in areas which traditionally have a higher female participation, such as office staff,” Kavanagh explained.
The union are working with their international partner unions around the world to develop strategies to increase female participation in the trades in Ireland. The unions are sharing data, campaign information and recruiting strategies that they use to attract female members.
At the conference, figures presented by the union showed the number of female members in the US:
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers: six per cent.
United Association: seven per cent.
Electrical Trade Union Australia: nine per cent.
Nordic Countries: from nine to 13 per cent.
Mark Butler, Human Resources manager for LotusWorks, one of Ireland’s largest construction engineering buildings said:
“Currently, we have no female apprentices within the current team of 24 apprentices. We advertised this years’ apprenticeship programme in August and had 180 applicants. Of that, eight were female.
“When it came to attending the assessment centre only two participated. Neither reached the shortlist for interview score which we set this year at 58 per cent.”
Butler added that LotusWorks is a non-unionised organisation and will not align themselves directly with the Connect Trade Union’s campaign.
By Catherine Gallagher
Image Credit: Pexel