Gemma, Electrician Apprentice

  • Less than one in every thousand electrical contractors in the UK is female*.
  • Male apprentices earn on average £7.10 per hour, while women earn just £6.85**
  • According to the DfE***, in 2015-16, more than 72,000 male apprentices started programmes in engineering in England, compared with 6,260 women.
  • By contrast DfE data*** shows 40% of all female apprentices started programmes in the health and social care sector, sectors which generally pay a lot less than STEM-related careers.

Unfazed by those statistics, apprentice electrician Gemma Scarlett, 22, from Dagenham is determined to carve a great career for herself in a sector she loves.

Gemma studies at Barking & Dagenham College one day a week and spends the other four days as part of the mechanical and electrical team at The London Borough of Barking & Dagenham.

Keen to encourage other young women to follow in her footsteps, Gemma explains why she enjoys her job so much:

“Being an electrician for me was an excellent career choice; I am naturally very practical and no two days are the same. It is a very useful trade to have and there is a variety of work that I do daily which makes the job interesting. I am currently working in domestic properties on door entry systems as well as re-wiring vacant and occupied properties for the council. My mum was always encouraging me to get into construction from an early age, as I was always building and fixing things around the house. My dad is happy for me too, as he knows that this is a great opportunity for my future career prospects. I am very optimistic about the future, as long as I keep putting in the hard work. I am currently three years into a four year Apprenticeship with my final exam being late next year. I want to be really good at my job as an electrician and in the future, I hope to be a manager running my own business.”

Gemma Scarlett

* Figure from leading industry regulator NICEIC.
** Department for Business
*** Gov.uk

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