Providers group to research men in childcare

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The question of why so few men choose childcare as a career is being studied by the Major Providers Group.

The group, made up of 14 of the largest nursery chains in the UK, plans to carry out face-to-face interviews with men at different points of their career to indentify their attitudes to childcare as a profession.

School students, fathers who use childcare and unemployed men will be asked about whether they ever considered working in childcare, their perceptions of it and what they believe others would think of them if they did.

Male staff working in settings owned by members of the group will be asked about why they chose to work in childcare, what keeps them in the sector and what barriers prevent men from working with children.

Parents whose children attend the nurseries will also be asked for their thoughts on men who work with children.

Neil Leitch, (pictured), chief executive of the Pre-School Learning Alliance and a member of the Major Providers Group, said, 'The lack of men working in childcare has been a concern of the group for a while. The coalition Government has also made several references to addressing the gender imbalance.

'The aim of the group's research is to uncover from a practical point of view why men aren't involved. I don't want to pre-empt the results, but initial findings have shown that the reason why men don't choose childcare as a career is not solely down to low pay, but because many have never considered the profession, and worry what their mates would think.'

Depending on the findings, the group may carry out a more detailed study looking at key areas of resistance, which they hope will get the support of the Government and allow the introduction of interventions to attract more men into childcare.

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