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Gendered choices: Young women's perspectives on non‐traditional training and careers in Northumberland

Amy O'Donnell (Centre for Public Policy, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 12 September 2008




This paper aims to report findings from a North East (of England) study co‐financed by the European Social Fund and the Learning and Skills Council to explore the issues around the provision of vocational training for women in Northumberland, focusing on the construction, engineering and manufacturing sectors. The aim of the research was to investigate the extent to which current vocational training provision is adequately meeting the needs of both women learners and employers in Northumberland.


The research consisted of a survey of learning providers in Northumberland and the immediate surrounding areas; interviews with local and regional policy makers, practitioners and service providers; interviews with local employers based in the construction, engineering and manufacturing sectors; and finally, focus groups and interviews with a range of women across the county.


First, the research implies that the social and cultural context of Northumberland and the wider North East region is an important factor in explaining the position of women in non‐traditional occupations in Northumberland. The research also implies that at present careers in the construction, engineering and manufacturing industries are not being promoted effectively to young people, particularly within schools. Finally, at all levels there is a clear need for the various agencies responsible for promoting non‐traditional occupations to women to work together more effectively.


This paper is of value to employers, policy makers and service providers seeking to encourage more young women into non‐traditional occupations, particularly within Northumberland and the North East region.



O'Donnell, A. (2008), "Gendered choices: Young women's perspectives on non‐traditional training and careers in Northumberland", Education + Training, Vol. 50 No. 6, pp. 474-488.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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