Scotland announces a new plan to bring men to ECEC
A £50,000 challenge fund, aimed at increasing the number of men working in early childhood education and care (ECEC) has been announced this week by Scotland’s Minister for Children and Young People Maree Todd.
Ms Todd said a diverse workforce can make a difference to children’s learning, bringing new ideas and approaches to learning and play, saying that working with children is rewarding, enjoyable and meaningful, and urging men to consider a career in childcare.
As in Australia, men are under-represented in Scottish ECEC circles, with just 2 per cent of the workforce being male, compared with 7 per cent male engagement in Portugal, and 23 per cent male engagement in Denmark.
The £50,000 Men in Childcare Challenge Fund is designed to help tackle this imbalance by increasing the number of men applying for and successfully completing Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) registered qualifications in ECEC.
Funding will be administered by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and awarded to colleges who submit successful bids to test evidenced-based pilot projects that can be replicated across Scotland, including in remote and rural areas.
A pioneer of this attraction work in Australia is Dr Martyn Mills Bayne, who created the MENtor program in 2011, designed to support male students attending the University of South Australia who were studying early childhood, and to try to retain and attract more men in early years education and care settings.
John Kemp, Interim Chief Executive of SFC, who 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 ECEC 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,” Mr Kemp said.