At present, only two per cent of practitioners working at the Co-operative Childcare’s 50 settings are male.
However, through their ‘Real men work in childcare’ campaign they hope to be able to increase their number of male practitioners to at least two per setting, the equivalent of ten per cent of their workforce.
The idea behind the campaign, being launched in schools, colleges and job centres, is to shift perceptions that working with children is a job for women. It is being headed by four male animated characters that work in stereotypical male occupations - building, driving and tree surgery, who star in an online video (see below).
As part of the campaign, the Co-operative Childcare’s existing male practitioners will feature in online tutorials to show parents how to do child-friendly activities, as well as lead question and answer sessions.
Gemma Allardyce, head of customer and brand at the Co-operative Childcare, said, ‘Men enhance children’s experiences, are positive role models and bring new ways of learning.
‘However, gender stereotypes in childcare are holding some men back from what could be the perfect career path for them in which they can help to positively influence our next generation of children.
’At Co-operative Childcare we are determined to make a marked difference to the male: female ratio in our nurseries. To do this we need to challenge preconceptions that are damaging the industry and champion that "real men" really do work in childcare.’