Virgin Media is first in tech sector to sign Young Women’s Trust’s pledge to improve apprenticeships for women

19th December 2016

Virgin Media has today signed the Young Women’s Trust pledge to help more young women into apprenticeships – making it the first Technology, Media and Telecoms (TMT) company to do so.

Young Women’s Trust, which supports young women on low or no pay, is campaigning to improve apprenticeships for women and support them into male-dominated sectors. The charity will work with Virgin Media to increase the number of young women joining its apprenticeship programme.

Virgin Media will work with Young Women’s Trust to support the recruitment of the 250 apprentices it plans to recruit in 2017. The company has trained almost 1000 apprentices in total.

Research by Young Women’s Trust shows that women apprentices earn on average 21 per cent less than men, receive less training and are represented in a narrower range of sectors. They are also more likely to be out of employment once they finish their apprenticeship.

Young Women’s Trust is helping companies to take positive action to make apprenticeships work for women.

Brigitte Trafford, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Virgin Media, said: “We are working to increase the representation of women at all levels in our company, from junior staff to senior leaders. As part of this commitment, we are delighted to pledge to help more women into apprenticeships, and look forward to working with the Young Women’s Trust to do this.”

Dr Carole Easton, Young Women’s Trust Chief Executive, said: “The under-representation of women in IT and telecoms hasn’t improved in more than a decade and it won’t change unless businesses are proactive. We are delighted that Virgin Media has committed to taking action.

“Young Women’s Trust will work with Virgin Media to help more young women join their apprenticeship scheme. Small changes like adapting the language in job adverts to appeal to young women, explicitly welcoming women applicants and removing formal academic entry requirements for apprenticeships can make a big difference. Providing part-time and flexible apprenticeships would help young mothers in particular, who often have to balance care with work.”

This pledge supports Virgin Media’s “more inclusive” 2020 sustainability goal with a target that by 2018, 40% of senior leaders will be women. Virgin Media’s investments in its female workforce have been recognised by Women in Cable Telecommunications.

Virgin Media joins companies including Asda, Network Rail and Barclays in signing the pledge. Young Women’s Trust will hold workshops with the organisations that have signed up to the campaign to understand the challenges they are facing, highlight best practice and develop new ways to attract more young women onto apprenticeship schemes.


Notes to editor:

About Young Women’s Trust

·         Young Women’s Trust ( supports and represents women aged 16-30 struggling to live on low or no pay in England and Wales and who are at risk of being trapped in poverty. The charity offers free coaching and personalised advice on job applications, conducts research, runs campaigns and works with young women to build confidence and advocate for fair financial futures.

·         Young Women’s Trust’s polled 1,300 young people for its recent report “Making Apprenticeships Work for Young Women” and found that women apprentices earn on average 21% less, receive less training and are more likely to be out of employment once they finish their apprenticeship compared to young men.  One of the reasons for this is that young women are found doing apprenticeships in a much narrower range of sectors than their male counterparts.

·         “Making Apprenticeships Work for Young Women” calls on employers to pledge to:

“Recognise the value of gender diversity and take action to increase the representation of young women in their apprenticeship programmes”

The report also makes a number of recommendations to employers and the Government including:

o   Positive Action: Introducing diversity action plans and measures from employers which actively encourage the recruitment and retention of young women, including setting targets to increase the participation of women in targeted sectors, reserving places on training courses for women, mentoring schemes and reviewing language used in recruitment advertising to make more female friendly.

o   The collecting and publishing of Apprenticeships data by employers including information about gender to increase transparency and accountability.

o   Greater availability of flexible and part-time apprenticeships to allow for caring and other responsibilities, with renewed guidance from Government for employers on this.

o   Increased pay and financial support for apprentices including childcare provision, on the same basis as other workers and the introduction of a single National Minimum Wage for all age groups regardless of apprenticeships status.

The full report “Making Apprenticeships Work for Young Women” is available at: