19 September 2019

Early learning and childcare: “It’s a man’s world too.”

With only 4% of the local early years workforce being male, Aberdeenshire Council is encouraging more men to consider a career in early learning and childcare as part of its expansion of funded hours.
A number of new early years practitioners and assistant practitioners posts will become available in nursery settings across Aberdeenshire in the new year, and the Council is keen to diversify the sector and recruit more people than ever to deliver quality early learning. They will be offering an ‘Early Education and Men in Practice’ course to be delivered over the course of eight evenings, every couple of weeks from Wednesday 30 October, aimed specifically at supporting those looking for a career change. 
The Scottish Government’s £50,000 Men in Early Years Challenge Fund aims to increase the number of men enrolling on NC and HNC Childhood Practice courses. 
Audrey Hendry who is the lead officer for early years at Aberdeenshire Council explained: “While experience is an advantage it is not a necessity. We’re keen to welcome male as well as female colleagues of all ages who enjoy working with children, who perhaps have an interest in outdoor learning, and who care about education and giving young people the best start in life. 
“Increasing the number of men, and other underrepresented groups, in childcare means children will benefit from different perspectives and have more and diverse role models to look up to. 
“The vast majority of our team are committed, wonderful women and we’re keen to welcome more positive male role models for our young people too. We’re keen to redress the balance and remind everyone early learning and childcare is absolutely a man’s world too.” 
Participants will be given the option to gain some experience in an early years setting as part of the course, giving them a chance to work out if it’s right for them. 
Anyone interested in finding out more is invited to go along to an information evening to be held at Kintore School (AB51 0RU) on Wednesday 2 October from 7pm to 8pm. Alternatively, email earlyyears@aberdeenshire.gov.uk 
The number of funded hours all three and four years, and some two year olds who meet specific criteria, can access is increasing from 600 to 1140 hours per year. This will become an entitlement for all in August 2020. In Aberdeenshire this is already available in all private, partner nursery settings, and with partner playgroups and childminders. There is also a programme of work underway to gradually introduce the hours in all council settings, and these new posts will help to support that.
Councillor Gillian Owen, Chair of Aberdeenshire’s Education and Children’s Services Committee commented: “Our aim is to ensure high quality experiences continue to be available for all young children, and to ensure there are more flexible, affordable and convenient options for working families. It’s a really exciting time to join our early years team and we hope this entry level evening course will encourage more men to give this career path some thought.”
Vice Chair Cllr Mark Findlater added: “I don’t think there’s a more important job out there than helping to give children the best possible start in life. Perhaps you’ve recently left school, college or university, or perhaps you’re looking for a change and want to make a difference. Attending the open evening is a chance to find out more – please go along if you can.”
View a video clip highlighting what working in early learning and childcare is all about: https://youtu.be/XoVLeMfrSoQ

Find out more at: https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/childcare-and-early-learning/