Boss Ladies pave way for vocational training

The Divérs Forening association has been awarded a grant of DKK 9.5 million from VILLUM FONDEN for the project Boss Ladies. The project, which aims to strengthen the recruitment and retention of women in vocational education and training, will also seek to promote the recognition of the vocational education programmes.

Children, youth and science

The grant to Boss Ladies is awarded under VILLUM FONDEN’s grant area Children, youth and science.

The Boss Ladies project has been running since 2018, and during that time has established cooperation with business schools, companies, municipalities and created an ambassadorial corps of young women.

“Boss Ladies is a visionary project where the recruitment and retention of women goes hand in hand with the development of the teaching environment and the quality of education. The project will thus also help to strengthen the recognition of vocational education and training in society in general,” says Agi Csonka, Head of Programme for VILLUM FONDEN’s grant area for Children, youth and science.

The grant will provide the opportunity to further develop the activities of a Boss Ladies vol. 2:

“First and foremost, this will make a tangible difference for girls and young women throughout Denmark in realising their future dreams of new educational paths, and the feedback from our now 134 Boss Ladies Ambassadors around the country is that they can help bring about concrete change for the next generation. We can now strengthen what has often been a blind spot in vocational schools in the past, namely the recruitment, appeal and retention of young women. In this way, the project extension represents a departure from the gender-stereotypical Danish labour market, but it is also a way to give young women the professional pride they deserve,” says Director Nina Groes from the Divérs Forening association.

Four tracks

Boss Ladies embraces a four-track approach:

  • Boss Ladies Ambassador Corps: The corps consists of young female apprentices and journeymen who seek to create a vocational education and training network for women.
  • Study choices and leisure time. Courses at 7th and 9th grade levels where students’ gender stereotypes and choice of education are challenged. Also nationally, including comprehensive learning labs with youth education counsellors focusing on gender-conscious learning and leisure camps where girls can ‘walk to the workshop’ at the local vocational school.
  • Enrolment and well-being in vocational education and training: Development and implementation of initiatives in vocational schools to strengthen a more diverse recruitment and a more inclusive study environment. 
  • Policy and communication. Strategic communication and dialogue with politicians, business and organisational life to bring about structural and cultural change.
Budget and time frame

VILLUM FONDEN’s board has awarded a grant of DKK 9.5 million to BossLadies vol 2 over a three-year period.

The project is run by the Divérs Forening association in cooperation with the Confederation of Danish Industry, 3F, the Danish Mechanical and Electrical Contractors association, the Danish Union of Electricians, Blik & Rør, Danske Malermestre, The Danish Painters’ Union, and Local Government Denmark, all of which are part of the project’s steering group. In the partnership municipalities, change alliances have also been established between local government, business playmakers, primary schools, youth employment counsellors, vocational schools and businesses.

Anna Høxbro Bak
Communications Adviser, THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS
+45 22 64 03 55