International Men's Day (November 19) sees the timely arrival of a new 20-page guide to pro-actively recruiting men into the sector, with a range of practical strategies that include working with job centres to keeping a check on 'sexist banter' in the workplace.
Early years sector organisations have come out in force to support the guide’s publication, and it is endorsed by the Early Years Alliance, National Day Nurseries Association and the Men and Boys Coalition, and others.
The Men In The Early Years (MITEY) Guide to Recruiting Men into Early Years Education, funded by the Department for Education, reports that the early years sector has one of the lowest levels of male participation of any workforce in the UK.
- Drive to get more men into childcare receives £30,000 backing
- A chance to model caring masculinities
Only three per cent of early years workers in England and Wales are male, rising only slightly to four per cent in Scotland.
In contrast, 11 per cent of men are nurses, 14 per cent are social workers and 15 per cent are primary school teachers.
Practical measures outlined in the guide to boost numbers of male workers include replacing ‘feminised’ job titles such as ‘nursery nurse’ with more gender-neutral terms such as “early years practitioner”.
Access the guide here
‘Widening the talent pool’
At the London Early Years Foundation, which has 39 nurseries across London, chief executive June O’Sullivan says: ‘If the early years sector is to provide an infrastructure that’s stable, it’s imperative that we get more government funding to prevent the current staffing crisis worsening and, at the same time, widen the talent pool with high-quality male nursery teachers and assistants.
‘Whilst the nature of modern work is changing, the perception that nursery teaching is not for men persists and the experiences of men in early years demonstrate how pervasive negative stereotypes remain. All of this needs to change.’