More men wanted for childcare jobs

Staff and agencies
Friday December 27, 2002
The Guardian

The education secretary, Charles Clarke, yesterday called on more men to consider working in childcare as he launched a 4m recruitment campaign.

Men are the most under-represented group working in nurseries, childcare and after school clubs. The childcare workforce is 98% female, except in after school clubs, where one in 10 of the workforce is male.

The response to last year's childcare recruitment campaign, entitled Do Something You Love for a Living, showed that although two thirds of men responding said there should be more men employed to work with children, only one in five said they would definitely consider childcare as a career.

Mr Clarke said recruiting and training sufficient numbers of people to staff the expansion of early years and childcare services is a "key priority" for government.

"Male childcarers play a vital and valuable role and we believe that the childcare industry needs to draw on a wider pool of talent if it is to ensure that children continue to get the best quality childcare and early education. I hope more men think about childcare as a career because they have so much to offer.

"Our research shows that the men who work in childcare thought that they had a positive role to play in a child's life and that the work was satisfying and enjoyable," he added.

Since 1998 there has been a 21% increase in the number of people working in childcare.

Stephen Jackson, 22, from Nottingham, attended an activity leadership course and now works in playwork. Describing his duties, he says: "I might be playing counting games with toddlers, making arts and crafts with older children or kicking a football with them outside when the weather's fine. I could be opening up a breakfast club from 7 until 9, helping out with after school activities between 3 and 6.30pm or working all day in the school holidays. It's great." © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2002