Blog: The importance of role models to gender equality
22 May 2017
SDS Head of National Training Programme Development
Karen Murray talks about the importance of role models when it
comes to tackling gender inequality in careers.
Role models are vital in tackling gender inequality - if you can
see it you can be it.
We know this because we've asked young people.
They tell us seeing or talking to someone like them in a job or
career they want to get into can help them to push through any
barriers that may be in their way.
At SDS, the power of positive role models is just one of the
ways we're tackling gender inequality.
More than 10,500 women started an apprenticeship in Scotland
But it's fair to say that seeing
Kelsey Pexton from Clydebank, an apprentice in Arnold Clark's
body shop in Glasgow, has more power to drive a young woman towards
the traditionally male-dominated automotive industry than any
The same goes for female dominated industries.
Hearing how inspirational
Childcare apprentice Liam McColl has been at Southside Daycare
in Nitshill will be a boost to any young man who may have had
reservations about giving the sector a go.
Early Learning and Childcare, engineering and construction are
not the only sectors who recognise there is work to do to address
issues of gender balance.
Employers and local businesses are harnessing their own role
model power across Scotland to unlock deeper talent pools.
They are working hard with our support on
opportunities for young men and women in their areas, starting
conversations that can change minds and careers.
Across the year we're holding and supporting events where young
people get a chance to find out more about employers in their
By getting in to schools, or getting pupils out of class, we can
show them the opportunities in their community that people like
them have been able to take advantage of.
That need for quality contact between employers and pupils has
driven our work with Developing the Young Workforce groups on
Marketplace, our digital matchmaking service for schools and
The battle for gender equality starts young.
By the time most children reach primary school they'll have
formed ideas about what jobs they want to do by soaking up the
world around them.
Superheroes and pop stars aside, they're already seeing cues on
what may or may not be 'acceptable' as a job for them.
SDS is uniquely placed to support pupils to explore their career
Our Improving Gender Balance Scotland project works with early
learning, primary and secondary schools to tackle issues of
The project, in partnership with Education Scotland and the
Institute of Physics aims to drive uptake of science, tech,
engineering and maths subjects in the senior phase for boys and
You can watch a
film of Duloch Primary School's experiences to find out
And we're there for those early subject choices too.
SDS careers advisers - trained in recognising unconscious bias -
work in every secondary school in Scotland offering career
information, advice and guidance from S1 until pupils leave school,
and beyond from our careers centres.
Careers advisers are available for one-to-one interviews at
early subject choice time, to support young people to make informed
They also provide support for the role models in daily contact
with young people - parents, carers and teachers - at this vital
transition point, to ensure pupils are accessing consistent support
Parents and carers are the number one influence on young people
when it comes to making career choices, followed closely by
teachers so its important for us that they recognise too that there
is no such thing as a boy's job or a girl's job
We have dedicated resources for parents, carers and teachers on
our careers web service My World of Work. It's full of information
about jobs across all sectors, routes in and projected skills gaps
as well as advice on money, exam results and subject choices.
You can lay your hands on our Career Conversation in a Nutshell
series too, developed with the National Parent Forum of
These are a handy guide on how to talk about careers with your
children, what they want to hear, with specific looks at digital
and tech careers as well as creativity and enterprise
On the right
At SDS we take our status as a role model very seriously.
Any equality issue at heart comes down to choice - gender
equality is no different.
SDS is committed to taking positive action and driving
strategies and activities that put equality of opportunity at the
heart of their delivery - and that goes for inside our business
SDS is uniquely placed to be a catalyst for change across our
work with our partners, individuals, employers and in
Societal change like this will always take time, but together,
we're making great strides.
Source - Skills Development Scotland