Colleges across Scotland can bid for a share of the £50,000 Men in Early Years Challenge Fund to run pilot projects aimed at increasing the number of men enrolling on NC (National Certificate) and HNC (Higher National Certificate) Childhood Practice courses.
Currently, just four per cent of Scotland’s early learning and childcare workforce are male.
Similarly, in 2016-17, of the 1,793 students enrolled on the HNC Childhood Practice course, just four per cent were men.
Minister for children and young people Maree Todd announced the new fund while meeting with male practitioners at Highland Fling Nursery in Portobello.
She said, ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for colleges to test out new ways of getting men into the early learning and childcare workforce, supporting our work to diversify the sector and recruit more people than ever to deliver quality early learning. Increasing the number of men in childcare means children will benefit from different perspectives and have more male role models to look up to.
‘I’m delighted to have seen first-hand today the difference a diverse workforce can have on our children’s learning, bringing new ideas and approaches to learning and play.
‘Our expansion of funded early learning and childcare will create thousands of high quality and well-paid jobs across Scotland. Working with children is rewarding, enjoyable and meaningful, and I urge men thinking of studying to consider a course in childcare.’
John Kemp, interim chief executive of the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), which will be facilitating the fund, said, ‘Diversity and representation is vital to ensure caring is not seen exclusively as a female role, and that all children have access to positive male role models.
‘This fund is designed to help address the current gender imbalance in the early learning and childcare workforce, as one of the recommendations in SFC’s Gender Action Plan.
‘Scotland’s colleges are uniquely positioned to have a positive impact on redressing the current gender imbalance in this workforce, and we look forward to receiving innovative bids from the sector.’