School pupils challenge gender stereotypes with council apprenticeships

Pupils from across Shetland’s secondary schools ‘dared to be different’ this week, as they tackled gender stereotypes in the council workplace.

The ‘Dare to be Different’ scheme is now in its second year, and offers third and fourth year pupils to consider different career paths.

Boys are offered the opportunity, through Train Shetland and the Shetland Islands Council, to try their hand at care and admin jobs while girls can have a go at construction and STEM roles.

Eleven pupils signed up this year, and were given work placements at nurseries such as Islehaven and Whiteness, the North Haven Care Centre in Brae, Building and Roads Services at Gremista and Sella Ness.

Train Shetland joint manager Kevin Briggs said he was “delighted” that so many pupils had shown an interest in the scheme.

Jessica Dickie, Rhiana Constable, Anna McDowall and Lily Hansen helped tackle gender stereotypes this week.

“We are also delighted the pupils are drawn from six of Shetland’s seven secondary schools, so we are pleased the schools have supported our project.”

Council HR team leader Jackie Watt said that “occupational segregation” was still ongoing within the SIC in some areas.

“Having a diverse workforce is a positive thing – people are more productive and creative, and it means the council has a bigger application pool for our ‘hard to fill’ jobs.

“We also have an equal pay gap that we are working to address, so this programme is a chance to do something proactive to deliver necessary change.

“Giving school pupils the opportunity to speak to our current apprentices, experience the workplace and understand what careers are available in the council seems like a great way to help young people make more informed and alternative careers choices.

“We hope the young people who took part will become our workforce of the future.”


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