Early Years Scotland

Early Years Scotland

Early Years Scotland has hosted the new SAAB Gender Commission’s first in-depth analysis into tackling gender disparity in the uptake of apprenticeships.

The new employer-led commission, to look at gender inequality in the workplace, has been established, kicking off with a deep-dive into the first of its key themes – early learning and childcare.

Developing knowledge and recommendations

The Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board’s Gender Commission aims to offer practical solutions to help employers tackle barriers to improving gender diversity in their workforce.

The Commission will also help develop businesses’ knowledge of what works to improve the balance of their workforce through apprenticeships. It will go on to develop recommendations for all sizes of companies and seek to inform Scottish Government policy.

The Commission is led by Natalie Buxton, managing director, Scotland, at global communications agency, Weber Shandwick, and will engage senior figures in the world of business and education. Further consultation will be with key influencers, employers, equalities experts, apprentices, trade unions and representatives from education.

The work complements existing activity on gender segregation in the workplace and will be led by industry and business looking specifically through the lens of work-based learning in Scotland.

Setting the scene

The commission held its inaugural meeting in October to set the scene and consider some the key themes it would look to explore. Each meeting will focus on a separate topic and will draw upon expert contributors to help look more closely into the different factors which can result in the gendered nature of work and apprenticeships.

The Commission heard from its guest host and member, Jean Carwood Edwards, Chief Executive at Early Years Scotland: “The early years are crucial…attitudes to health, relationships, physical wellbeing, diet and sexuality are formed to varying extents in the early years – gender, subject choices and occupations are no different. Children will see themselves in a role if they have this presented to them – and this can limit or open up their choices. “I think we need to start highlighting and discussing the world of work at nursery – ‘get in early’, is my motto. Work is, after all part of our everyday world.”

You can read more from Jean Carwood Edwards via this link

Natalie Buxton, chair of the Gender Commission and member of the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board said: “I was delighted to open the commission’s discussion with a focus on early years learning. With gendered attitudes to occupations formed as early as pre-school age, it makes sense to start at the beginning, and take a deep-dive look into the formative years of a person’s life.” “As the Commission progresses, we will examine different themes along the way to throw the spotlight on causal factors and key drivers of gender inequality. We will look to address some of the well-known gender issues experienced by many sectors, such as the care profession, construction and engineering, by understanding how businesses can make a difference. I look forward to seeing how the Gender Commission can offer business ready solutions with real impact.”