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Vocational Training

Volume 447: debated on Tuesday 13 June 2006

To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what steps she is taking to increase the take-up of vocational training by girls. (75805)

[holding answer 12 June 2006]: There are a number of steps we are taking to increase the take up of vocational training by both boys and girls. In particular we are challenging stereotypical choices through the Young Apprenticeship programme for 14 to 16-year-olds, the 14-19 Pathfinders and in the development of new specialised Diplomas.

Working in partnership with the EOC, we have been evaluating how equal opportunities are being addressed in practice by Young Apprenticeship partnerships, particularly to encourage all young people to consider non-traditional options, through, for example, vocational tasters.

Computer Clubs for Girls is also an innovative, award-winning initiative created by e-skills UK and funded by DfES. Clubs are being run in partnership by schools and employers in order to raise the standard of girls’ ICT skills while transforming girls’ attitudes to careers in IT.

Underpinning all this work is access to information, advice and guidance so that young people, and girls in particular, can make informed choices. The “Youth Matters: Next Steps” document, published on 8 March 2006, sets out proposals for improved information, advice and guidance for young people. Central to improved information, advice and guidance will be the development of quality standards. The challenging of traditional stereotypes will be included in these standards. The Equal Opportunities Commission is represented on the Steering Group that is supporting the development of the standards.