Employers need to reserve places on apprenticeship schemes for young women, disabled people and ethnic minorities to create a more level playing field, the country’s equality body has said.
The government has pledged to create 3 million apprenticeships in England by 2020. But almost 90% of apprentices aged 16-24 are white, compared with 82% of the population.
While there are similar numbers of female and male apprentices, women remain significantly under-represented in the better-paid industries. And the number of people starting an apprenticeship last year who had learning difficulties, disabilities or health problems dropped by 17% on the previous year.