HVAC Apprenticeship – No Girls Allowed?

An article from HVP Magazine (see below) was shared with me through the wonderful world of LinkedIn a while back. It refers to a recent study which discovered that men are twice as likely to be encouraged to take on an apprenticeship as women. It got me thinking about why women would be discouraged from such a great industry, so I asked around.

A vocational school teacher shared with me that business owners have no-girls-allowed1expressed fear of bringing on female co-op students as apprentices because they are afraid of sexual harassment charges.The thought process was explained as, “A male journeyman with a female apprentice alone in a service van with no witnesses…How would we defend such a claim?”

Most of the women I talked to who were in the field said that they felt like their male counterparts were protective of them, like a big brother, and they never felt the least bit threatened or uncomfortable.

To me, the sexual harassment angle seems like a small percentage risk, no greater than in any company in any job. The article suggests that the lack of emphasis on women in apprenticeships is due to straight up gender bias – girls wear pink and like to hold babies so they must become nurses, and boys like blue and like to play with trucks so they must work in construction. I’m not sure if it’s both or neither reason, but none of it speaks well of the society we live in.What are your thoughts?

The great thing about articles like this is it means that we’re looking at these issues of gender bias and asking questions. Hopefully, one day, we will no longer need to.  


Apprenticeships still seen as ‘just for the boys’

Men are twice as likely to be encouraged to take on an apprenticeship as women, according to new research from the City & Guilds Group.

A survey of more than 2000 young professionals showed that a third of men were encouraged to take an apprenticeship in school compared with just 17% of women, suggesting that girls are still being held back by societal perceptions of the ‘right’ career path.The gender divide was also found in the 18-24 age group, despite high youth unemployment levels. Only 23% of women in this age group had been advised about apprenticeships, compared with 32% of men. The data suggests that repeated warnings about the need to diversify the workforce still appear to be going unnoticed.  Click for full article…