Let’s get more men into early years education this National Apprenticeship Week

It’s National Apprenticeship Week and the MITEY campaign is calling for more early years providers and training organisations to reach out and recruit more male apprentices.

We are working with Kids Planet Day Nurseries, to help them recruit and retain a cohort of 12 male apprentices as part of a project funded by Greater Manchester Combined Authority, to break down barriers to apprenticeships – you can find out more about this in the 5 minute video clip below. Elsewhere, London Early Years Foundation is also running a male-inclusive apprenticeship programme.

We have been working closely with Gill Mason, Head of Training at the Kids Planet Training Academy, to audit processes and materials, and provide training and support to help develop and systematise male-inclusive approaches across the organisation. The 52-setting nursery chain is creating innovative, male-inclusive marketing materials, including this recruitment video; it has employed a Men in Childcare coordinator, and is already receiving more applications from men. Our collaboration has already won external recognition, in the shape of a Diversity and Inclusion Heroes Award from World Skills UK, sponsored by Coca Cola European Partners and Toyota UK.

But nationally there’s a long way to go: overall, the early years education workforce is still 97% female and the recent GenderEYE study found that few early years organisations are taking active measures to improve their record on gender diversity.

“The work we’re doing in Manchester shows that when you put your minds to it, you CAN bring men into early years education. Which is great news not just for the men themselves, but for the children and the women they work with,” said Dr Davies. “There are lots of men spending more time than ever looking after children during lockdown – and some of them will be looking to change careers. So even if the early years sector faces big challenges at the moment, it’s actually a great time to be pulling men into this work through apprenticeships.”

Gill Mason added: ‘We are delighted to be delivering this project to raise the profile of men in early years We believe that caring for and educating young children in the early years should be a job for everyone, not just women. We have had a fantastic response to the campaign so far and we’re very much looking forward to supporting and training a cohort of men through our in-house Early Years Apprenticeship programme.”

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