International Women’s Day: Helping females thrive in apprenticeships

Posted on: 7th Mar 2024

Ignite Training’s Business Development Manager has spoken of her pride at helping females thrive in apprenticeships, as the company celebrates International Women’s Day 2024.

The annual celebration is an opportunity to highlight the immense contribution women make to society by highlighting their social, economic and cultural achievements.

Here, Sorcha Murphy discusses the ways in which Ignite empowers women through their flexible, varied apprenticeship offering.

Smashing stereotypes

In her role, Sorcha helps employers provide apprenticeship opportunities to people across the UK.

More and more, this means ensuring women are able to seize the opportunities of apprenticeships regardless of the industry.

She said: “It’s great to see more women take up apprenticeships, with the gender split for participation in apprenticeships across the country standing at roughly 50-50.”

When the first International Women’s Day was celebrated in 1972, apprenticeships had a narrow focus, reserved to the traditional industries or a limited number of other vocations.

They were also held almost exclusively by males, with a third of male school leavers signing up to an apprenticeship.

In contrast, the modern apprenticeship offers opportunities in a wide range of fields.

“Nowadays, the apprenticeship landscape is almost unrecognisable” explained Sorcha.

“We are a provider with a strong footing in the sports industry, a sector which is traditionally male dominated.

“Despite this, we’re proud to have many fantastic female apprentices and employees rising to positions of leadership.

“Apprenticeships are a great way for organisations to invest in professional development, with many of our female graduates having achieved impressive career and educational milestones, furthering their studies at University, or promoted to Heads of Department by their employers.”

Varied opportunities

The modern apprenticeship landscape offers opportunities in a wide range of fields, which has helped it improve inclusivity and widened access.

“Fifty years ago, apprenticeships were very much a majority-male space, with options restricted to heavy industry and professions like vehicle mechanics,” said Sorcha.

“Now, there are a huge range of options available with courses in a wide range of sectors and professional development areas.

“We have some fantastic women enrolled in our course portfolio, which is varied and encompasses courses as wide-ranging as sports coaches, Operations Managers and Content Creators.

“Our goal is to create a sufficiently inclusive and diverse offering to encourage more women to enrol in apprenticeships.”

READ MORE: Izobel Fuller: How an apprenticeship at Ignite has helped me plan my career

Flexible learning models

An inherent strength to apprenticeships is their flexibility. Many women face unique challenges in the workplace, including balancing family responsibilities.

Sorcha explained: “Apprenticeships provide an adaptable learning environment, combining on-the-job training with blended online and in-person.

“This flexibility is particularly important for women and helps ensure they can pursue education and professional development in a way that suits their individual circumstances, breaking down barriers to entry.

“Our apprentices are assigned a dedicated point of contact with Ignite, and we co-ordinate closely with partner employers to ensure our female apprentices are supported and able to fit their studies around the demands of their day-to-day job and life.”


At Ignite, we know the benefits apprenticeships bring to our partner employers as an excellent, cost effective tool to invest in the skillsets of new and existing staff.

That’s why we are dedicated to spreading the transformative benefits to as many businesses and apprentices as possible- and engaging and empowering women is a vital element of achieving this goal.

While there remains work to be done to dismantle glass ceiling many women face in their careers, apprenticeships are ideally suited to suit the specific needs of women to help them level-up in their careers.

About Ignite Training

Established in 1999, Ignite’s primary aim is to actively inspire people, and to help create a sense of achievement for everyone. Based in Oxford and operating nationally, we provide a portfolio of training and services to individuals, schools and the sports industry, ranging from weekly clubs for tots to adult courses and apprenticeships.

About Ignite Training