From education to employment

Women leading the charge on apprenticeships

Petra Wilton, Strategy Director, CMI

Employers encouraged to start degree-level apprenticeships to improve gender diversity

Degree-level apprenticeships will be key to filling ‘missing middle’ of women in management, with 1.5m more needed by 2024 to achieve gender parity.

At the start of National Apprenticeship 2017, the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is calling on employers to start higher-level apprenticeships as a route to promoting gender diversity in their workforces.

CMI’s strategy director Petra Wilton says:

“It’s good to be celebrating International Women’s Day during National Apprenticeship Week this year, given apprenticeships are playing a significant role in improving gender diversity in the workplace.

“Our research shows that nearly half of our new degree-level chartered manager apprenticeships are started by women, while government data shows that 53% of all apprenticeships have been taken up by women. This is not a new phenomenon, more women than men have started apprenticeships every year since 2010/11.

“To achieve gender balance by 2024, the UK will need an additional 1.5 million women managers. Apprenticeships have a leading role to play by supporting women at all stages of their careers to progress through management. From those starting out in the world of work to those looking to push on in their careers, management and leadership apprenticeships are helping to equip women with the skills needed to progress and to help fill the ‘Missing Middle’ creating the talent pipeline to the top.

“However, with only 13% of employers aware of the new Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship, far more needs to be done to encourage businesses to ensure an inclusive, diverse and more productive talent pipeline. This is particularly important in sectors like STEM that are struggling to attract female professionals.”

With the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in April 2017, there is an opportunity for apprenticeships to play a critical role in developing new and existing talent in the workforce.

Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills Robert Halfon says:

“It is essential that people can get on the ladder of opportunity and get on in the world of work, regardless of how old they are or their background.  

“It’s fantastic that 53% of apprenticeships started are by women but we’re not stopping there. We have been working hard to make sure that employers take on apprentices with disabilities, from BAME backgrounds and women in sectors they are under-represented. Our new Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network, which is made up of 23 employers, will also make sure apprenticeships can work for as many people as possible.”

The likes of the latest breed of trailblazer degree-level apprenticeships developed by employer-led groups are now opening up new opportunities. 

On 6 March, the CMI is hosting an event to discuss the new trailblazer apprenticeships and their potential to support women’s progression in management.

At the event, women apprentices studying on the new degree apprenticeships at companies including BT, Atkins, Nestle and IBM will be sharing their experiences. Speakers include Sue Husband,

Director of the Skills Funding Agency, who has herself started a Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship via Open University.

Commenting, Sue Husband says:

“I’m delighted to be celebrating the role of apprenticeships in supporting women’s career progression during National Apprenticeship Week. Too many women at the outset of their careers, or those returning from family commitments, struggle to find appropriate work-based learning opportunities. 

“Apprenticeships provide progression through to higher level skills, and this is raising aspirations from a much wider talent pool. I’m particularly proud to be a role model in continuing my own professional development by undertaking the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship with Open University.”


About Trailblazer management apprenticeships:

The new breed of trailblazer management apprenticeships came to life in November 2015 with the launch of the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship. This was designed by a group of more than 30 employers led by Serco and Civil Service Learning, and supported by CMI. CMDA enables apprentices to earn as they learn, gain a degree and achieve Chartered Manager status. The introduction of the Team Leader and Operational Manager apprenticeships in June 2016, and the anticipated launch this summer of the Master’s degree level management apprenticeship, provides a progression route for employers to invest in managers at all levels.

More information:

About CMI Women:

CMI has been advocating gender balance since 1969 when it launched the Women in Management initiative.

In 2016, CMI increased its focus on gender diversity and the benefits that it brings to business by relaunching the Women in Management under the new banner of CMI Women.

CMI Women is a network within the Chartered Management Institute CMI – the only chartered professional body in the UK dedicated to promoting the highest standards in management and leadership excellence.


About CMI

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is the only chartered professional body for management and leaderships, dedicated to improving managers’ skills and growing the number of qualified managers.

Our professional management qualifications span GCSE to PhD equivalents, including the unique Chartered Manager award, which increases earning potential and improves workplace performance.

CMI has led the way in developing a suite of trailblazing management apprenticeships with a 40-strong group of employers. These start from Level 3 (operations manager) and Level 5 (team leader) through to Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship. A Master’s degree-level apprenticeship is in development, giving employers the option to upskill managers of all levels. CMI is a Skills Funding Agency-registered apprentice assessment organisation.

We provide employers and individual managers with access to the latest management thinking and with practical online support that helps them to embrace change, create high-performing teams and keep ahead of the curve.

With a member community of more than 140,000 managers and leaders, we promote high standards of ethical practice through our Professional Code of Conduct, and help managers to build their expertise through online networks, regional events and mentoring opportunities.

CMI is supporting NAW 2017 with activities including events; speaking engagements; PR and social media campaigns; and exciting new digital content such as case studies, videos, infographics and articles. Visit: @cmi_managers #MissingMiddle #MgtApprenticeship

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