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Irish apprenticeships in financial services: negotiating gender and navigating social justice

Sheerin, Corina and Brittain, Jonathan (2023) Irish apprenticeships in financial services: negotiating gender and navigating social justice. Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning. ISSN 2042-3896

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Purpose: Set within the context of International Financial Services (IFS), this research aims to considers the demographic profile of IFS apprenticeship candidates in relation to gender equality and social mobility in Ireland. This study also offers valuable insights as to the gendered nature of these “new” apprenticeships and examine whether these programmes provide opportunities for social mobility.

Design/methodology/approach: Implementing a quantitative approach, underpinned by a positivist stance, this study analyses Irish national apprenticeship data relating to IFS programmes (n = 1118). Non-parametric tests were applied in the analysis of the gender dimension, while to analyse social mobility, the socio-economic status and spatial profile of candidates were compiled and analysed using the Pobal HP Deprivation Index (SA).

Findings: The findings revealed more women are undertaking non-traditional apprenticeship programmes as compared with traditional craft apprenticeships. Within the IFS context, while female participation was seen to be growing, gender divergence was observed in terms of programme level, with a greater number of men, as compared with women, engaging in higher-level degree apprenticeship programmes. The findings also show that IFS apprentices are primarily from socio-economic areas that are above average. This trend indicates a distinctive candidate who is more aligned with the sectoral profile of IFS than that of traditional apprenticeship programmes. Such findings reveal that the “widening participation” aim of IFS apprenticeships is not yet fully realised with issues of gender inequality and social mobility persistent within the wider IFS sector.

Originality/value: This study provides an important dimension to both academic and practitioner literature concerning apprenticeships. To date, there has been a proliferation of publications concerning the beneficial impact of skills and vocational-led apprenticeships. However, limited attention has been directed to non-traditional apprenticeships and even less still within the setting of IFS. This research initiates the process of addressing that gap within an Irish context. This study also adds to the existing apprenticeship discourse regarding issues of gender and social mobility by examining the gendered nature of IFS apprenticeships and well as assessing whether these apprenticeships aid social mobility.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Higher and degree apprenticeships; Financial services; Gender; Social mobility
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects / Types of education > Vocational Education > Apprenticeships
H Social Sciences > HG Finance > Financial Services
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > Issues of Labour and Work > Remuneration
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > Issues of Labour and Work > Classes of Labour > Women and Work
Divisions: School of Business > Staff Research and Publications
Depositing User: Tamara Malone
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2024 17:51
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2024 17:51

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