What is your professional background?
Both Jamie and myself are primary school teachers from the Institute of Education, UCL [says James]. Jamie has been working as a class teacher for three and a half years and is now head of arts at his school. Since my graduation, I returned to the Institute to complete a Masters in Primary Education and have also been working as a manny (male nanny) for the last nine years.
What is the concept behind your childcare agency, Manny & Me?
Manny & Me is unique because it is the first agency that has an equal focus on both education and childcare. Many families employ tutors and nannies separately, but what we are doing is finding individuals that can fill both these roles and more. By employing one person instead of many, the families not only save money, but also provide greater consistency for their children.
What made you want to open an agency?
I think the idea of creating an agency stemmed from there being a real lack of options for parents looking for male nannies. During my time as a manny I had countless families asking me if I had any friends who could help them so it was obvious that there was a real interest.
Do you have a mission for the future?
Our first target is to help change gender stereotypes and promote the role of men in childcare. Another aim is to offer our services to as many families as possible. Last week we were invited to speak in the House of Commons about the potential of providing large companies subsidised childcare during the school holidays. Many families find it difficult to find suitable childcare options and have to take time off work. By bringing childcare directly to the workplace, we can help staff retention and help families have an affordable alternative.