B&Q Commits £1 Million to Support More Women Trade Apprenticeships to Address Gender Imbalance in the Trade Sector

b&q diy stores

B&Q TradePoint, is intensifying its efforts to dismantle gender barriers prevalent in trade professions by dedicated to promoting inclusivity and expanding opportunities for women in trade professions through the funding of trade apprenticeships.

According to a recent report by Kingfisher, B&Q’s parent company, a mere 2% of the UK’s 900,000 tradespeople are women. Furthermore, the report underscores the looming threat of a £98 billion growth loss by 2030 owing to a deficit of skilled tradespeople, with the existing shortfall of 166,000 tradespeople projected to rise to 250,000. These figures underscore the urgent necessity for initiatives that inspire and empower individuals, regardless of gender, to pursue careers in the trades.

Despite an increasing number of women engaging in DIY activities, the transition to trade occupations has been sluggish. In response, B&Q TradePoint is actively tackling this issue. The company is already contributing by financing trade apprenticeships for SMEs through the apprenticeship levy Transfer to Transform scheme, aimed at alleviating the current shortage of trade skills. Having already fully funded 60 apprentices across 45 businesses, spanning various trades including carpentry, scaffolding, painting and decorating, plumbing, and electricians, B&Q has earmarked an additional £650,000 to fully fund approximately 120 more apprentices.

As part of its commitment to gender equality, B&Q aspires to attract as many women as possible to the sector and utilise the remaining £1 million pledged. This endeavour represents a crucial stride towards fostering a more diverse and inclusive trades industry, thereby bolstering the sector’s overall growth and prosperity.

In honour of International Women’s Day, B&Q TradePoint has pledged to uncover the obstacles hindering more women from entering trade professions through comprehensive research. The goal is to discern how the sector can better target and recruit an untapped workforce.

Amélie Gallichan-Todd, Supply & Logistics Director and Inclusivity Lead at B&Q, expressed her views on the initiative: “It is evident that there exists a significant gap between the increasing interest and involvement of women in DIY and their representation in the trade sector. As we commemorate International Women’s Day, we aim to attract more women to trade professions through our support of trade apprenticeships and research into the barriers preventing their participation. Our objective is to contribute towards creating a more equitable future for women in the trade sector.”

B&Q invites industry stakeholders, partners, and the broader community to join them in this endeavour as they strive to build a future where women flourish in a more balanced trades industry.

To inspire more women to transition from DIY to trade professions and raise awareness about the gender imbalance in the trade sector, B&Q TradePoint is collaborating with influencer Alex Lawson (@CasaLawson). Reflecting on the gender disparity in the trade sector and her efforts to encourage more women to pursue trade professions, Alex stated: “I was fortunate to have exceptional role models in my life, both male and female. However, I recognise that not everyone is as fortunate. I am delighted to collaborate with B&Q to raise awareness about the remarkable opportunities in the trade sector and narrow the gap. We must do more to educate young people about the myriad of opportunities available to them, and ensure they understand that further education is not limited to traditional university courses. Through @casalawson, I teach others that creating a home they love is entirely feasible without breaking the bank; they just need to take the first step.”

To learn more about accessing B&Q’s funding for trade apprenticeships, please visit https://www.trade-point.co.uk/getonthetools.