As a company, Riverside Training is an advocate of the important role of men in the Early Years sector.
Despite many more fathers now actively engaged in caring for their children, the Early Years workforce still remains female-dominated with the proportion on men employed a paltry 2%.
Having male and female practitioners in a nursery setting gives both boys and girls a positive balance, discourages gender stereotypes and promotes different approaches to play.
So I am pleased to see that MITEY (Men In The Early Years), run by the Fatherhood of Institute, has launched a free 20-page guide calling on the sector to take active measures to recruit men in a bid to boost the talent pool, tackle the ongoing recruitment crisis and create a more representative workforce.
The MITEY Guide to Recruiting Men into Early Years Education is endorsed by the Early Years Alliance, National Day Nurseries Association and the Men and Boys Coalition, among others.
It suggests practical ways for Early Years employers to attract more men into the workforce, including:
- Replacing ‘feminised’ job titles like ‘nursery nurse’ with more gender-neutral terms like ‘Early Years practitioner’
- Keeping a check on sexist ‘workplace banter’
- Including ‘positive action’ statements, images of men and male case studies in job advertisements, to clarify that male applicants are welcome
- Holding open days targeted at attracting male recruits
- Promoting Early Years and other caring jobs to boys of all ages
- Working with Job Centres to promote Early Years careers to men
- Promoting vacancies via fathers who use Early Years provision, as well as mothers
The guide's author Dr Jeremy Davies, head of communications at the Fatherhood Institute and MITEY campaign project lead, said: "We are suggesting some simple changes that Early Years organisations can make to show men they are welcome and valued as professional caregivers and educators.
"For too long there’s been an acceptance that men aren’t interested in this field. That’s not good enough.
"We know this isn’t an easy nut to crack but we need to do everything we can to pull them in."
Stella Ziolkowski, National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA)’s Director of Quality and Training said: "The guide is packed full of good ideas and helpful suggestions for Early Years settings to be able to use in order to try to redress the gender balance in the workforce.
"Nobody is doubting the challenge that childcare providers are up against, but it is vital that we all do our best to approach this issue head on.
"Both NDNA and the Fatherhood Institute recognise the value of recruiting more men as early educators to work alongside their female colleagues.
"A wealth of research points towards better outcomes for children who are cared for and educated by a diverse workforce which reflects the community and society as a whole, to inspire children’s learning journeys."
Michael Freeston, Early Years Alliance Director of Quality Improvement, recognises that getting more men into childcare has always been a tricky task.
"With its thought-provoking and practical approach, this well-presented and easy-to-follow book makes the ideal companion for owners and managers struggling to recruit and maintain male Early Years professionals," he said.
While Dan Bell, CEO, of the Men and Boys Coalition, described the guide as 'brimming with clear, practical strategies to support the important mission of bringing more men into Early Years teaching'.
He added: "The guide also offers crucial insights into some of the barriers to men, along with great advice on how to avoid approaches and attitudes that can put men off applying."
To receive a free copy of the guide join the MITEY network by visiting follow this link
At Riverside Training we will continue to actively encourage and support male students as they take their first steps, or progress, on an Early Years career path.
Male or female, you can find out more about our courses and qualifications by calling our friendly team on 01775 710945.