New guide for early years settings on recruiting more men

A new guide to recruiting men into early years recommends settings hold targeted open days and keep a ‘check on sexist workplace banter’.

The MITEY (Men In The Early Years) Guide to Recruiting Men into Early Years Education, published today on International Men’s Day (19 November), calls on early years employers to take ‘active’ measures to recruit men to double their pool of talent and create a more representative workforce.

Measures proposed in the free guide, which is endorsed by the Early Years Alliance, the National Day Nurseries Association and Early Education, among others, include:

  • Replacing ‘feminised’ job titles such as ‘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
  • 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 MITEY campaign says that ‘action is needed now more than ever’ with the ongoing early years recruitment crisis and with just 3 per cent of male early years staff in England and Wales, and 4 per cent in Scotland.

Author of the new guide, Dr Jeremy Davies, head of communications at the Fatherhood Institute, who is leading the MITEY campaign, said, ‘We are suggesting some simple ways early years organisations can 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.’

MITEY was launched in April, backed by a £30,000 grant from the Department for Education. Run by the Fatherhood Institute, the campaign aims to reflect the diversity of ‘modern Britain’ in early years settings and provide more diverse role models for children before they start school.

Sector endorsement

The NDNA said it would be sharing the new guide with its members.

Director of quality and training Stella Ziolkowski said, ‘NDNA fully supports the Fatherhood Institute’s Men in the Early Years guide to recruitment. It 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.’

Michael Freeston, the Early Years Alliance’s director of quality improvement, added, ‘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.’

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