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New article published: Men in childcare, an ongoing debate

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I have today published an article by David Wright who many of you will know is a passionate advocate for men in childcare. David has been working in early years for many many years and his views are well respected across the sector. Please read the article and feel free to raise questions or points for discussion as David is more than happy to continue the debate online!

Men in childcare, an ongoing debate

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Great article David...but how do we go about recruiting men??? I have had a job open for over a year....I can get people with no qualifications but I need a level 3! I would love a male practitioner but culturally most of our families would not consider it as a job. (great to see a male practitioner on the secret life of 4 year olds BTW) . So how are we going to move forward??

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Excellent question! and thanks for posting it. The issue we have right now, as you have alluded to, is getting any qualified staff at all! Depending on your perspective, this is a challenge or an opportunity. Maybe, as the CEEDA research suggests, we will now see more men coming forward for jobs.  You have also highlighted several of the key issues - many parents view Early Years as "women's work" and are suspicious and not always supportive of men in the workforce, they will almost certainly not support their own sons pursuing a career in our sector. I am a dogged optimist however and I believe there are things we can do. I am meeting with the Department for education, along with a dozen or so colleagues on Monday to discuss a national strategy to address the issues. In my opinion, we need to change cultural attitudes that act as a barrier to entry into the workforce for men and women. We need to raise the status of Early Years Teaching as a profession (and ideally salary levels!) We need to promote positive images of men working in Early Years settings and work with careers advisors and schools to raise awareness of careers opportunities, to boys and girls. As an individual setting, I would advise adding the words - 'We welcome applications from men as well as women' to any job advert you place. I would also put the word out to local colleges, and let schools know that you are open to work experience placements from boys as well as girls. But the over-riding principle has to be best person for the job. We have not employed many male applicants because they were not suitable. We have also had to let several go for the same reason. I recently visited a nursery in London with 7 men out of a team of 26. The men themselves, parents, colleagues and children were all very happy. I asked the manager what the secret was to recruitment of men. He said they don't do anything special but there is a general awareness that they welcome men and are actively seeking to build a gender-balanced team. Maybe there's something in that, that gives us some ideas?   David                  

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That's helpful advice David, thank you

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