Wanted: more women for our award-winning apprenticeships
At British Gas, we’re recruiting a new apprentice every day until 2030 – and we want 50% of them to be female. As a company, we think it’s vital that we reflect the diversity of the customers and communities we support. And to do that, we must do everything we can to close the gender gap in engineering.
Women make up half of the UK population 1, yet research by EngineeringUK shows that only 16.5% of engineers are female 2. The good news is that this is up from 10.5% in 2010 3, so at least things are moving in the right direction. Today, 35% of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) students in UK higher education are female, and the number of female STEM graduates has gradually been rising since 2015 4.
While it’s great to see that progress is being made, our sector is still very clearly male-dominated. As industry leaders, it’s our responsibility to be at the forefront of change and show the way to a more diverse future. And our apprenticeships will help us to do just that.
Gender diversity and net zero
As a business, we want to help customers to live more simply, sustainably and affordably. To achieve this, we’re offering Smart Energy Apprenticeships. These train the next generation of engineers in the green skills they need to help people improve the energy efficiency of their homes and cut their carbon emissions which is key to the UK’s journey to net zero.
And we want to make these apprenticeships as attractive as possible to women. We’re determined to give women a fairer chance to reap the rewards from the fast-growing STEM sector. In 2021, 30% of our Smart Energy Apprentices were women. Disappointingly this dropped to 20% in 2022 so we’re doubling down on our efforts to inspire more women into engineering this year.
We’re committed to placing inclusion at the heart of everything we do. We’re not looking for people who will fit in with our culture – we want people who will help to shape it because they feel empowered to bring their whole selves to work.
Why choose a British Gas apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is a great way to learn a trade because you can:
- Earn while you learn. You get a salary from day one, with a substantial increase once you complete your apprenticeship
- Receive award-winning training at a British Gas Academy, developing skills for life under the coaching and mentoring of seasoned professionals
- Gain valuable and transferable qualifications and awards
- Learn as a group with the support of your fellow apprentices to help you build your confidence.
And there are a whole host of benefits available to our employees:
- We’re recognised as one of the Top 50 Employers of Women by The Times
- We champion diversity and inclusion and are building a workplace where everyone feels they can belong
- Financial benefits include a pension scheme, life assurance, income protection and an energy allowance to help with bills
- A private healthcare plan, as well as other health and wellbeing benefits
- Electric car lease scheme
- An excellent range of flexible benefits, including technology vouchers, holiday buy and travel insurance
You might think that apprenticeships are just for youngsters, but there are no age limits or constraints. In fact, over 40% of our new apprentice recruits are aged over 30 . And as well as apprenticeships, we’re reaching out to help women into the industry, no matter their age or stage in life.
We ran a targeted campaign aimed at women looking for a career change during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, and our Ex-Forces programme got off to a great start in 2022, hiring 143 former service personnel with a target of recruiting 500 veterans, reservists, spouses and partners by the end of 2023. And we’re on track to achieve our goal of recruiting 3,500 new apprentices by 2030, having hired 1,033 by the end of 2022.
We’re working together for bigger change
To achieve a brighter future for tomorrow’s women we need to tackle the root cause of the problems. That’s why we’ve signed up to the Tech She Can Charter, a commitment by organisations to work together to increase the number of women working in technology roles in the UK. It aims to change things at a society level by inspiring and educating not only women and young girls, but also parents and teachers who are huge influencers of career choices.
Empowering women at British Gas
As an industry leader we can positively influence the gender gap by being recognised as a great place for women to work. The purpose of our Women’s Employee Network is to be a catalyst for change, by enabling and empowering women to meet their full potential in the workplace. From adopting flexible job share arrangements to taking up shared parental leave or returning to work after taking a career break, we support women to be their best selves at work.
The Network is one of eight employee networks across the business and is just one of the ways we are committed to creating a truly diverse and inclusive company where everyone is welcome.
So whether you’re a young school leaver or a mum who wants to return to work there’s an opportunity for you on one of our award-winning training and apprenticeship schemes. Why not start searching for your ideal role today?