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EDITIONS
 Thursday, 26 December, 2002, 00:45 GMT
Childcare boom appeal for men
nursery worker and child
Almost all nursery staff are women
Men are again being encouraged to become childcarers - currently a 98% female occupation in England.

Launching a new 4m recruitment campaign, the Education Secretary, Charles Clarke, called on more men aged 16 to 40 to consider working in childcare.

He said the workforce was almost entirely female in nurseries and similar settings.

The exception was after-school clubs, and even there only one worker in 10 is a man.

Priority area

The sector is still expanding rapidly.

Day nurseries have been the fastest growing small business sector in the past few years - up 42% since 1998.

There are now well over 8,000 across the country.

The Department for Education and Skills says that since 1998 there has been a 21% increase in the number of people working in childcare and the sector will continue to grow.

It says the response to last year's childcare recruitment campaign suggested that two thirds of men said there should be more men working with children - but only one in five said they would definitely consider childcare as a career.

Mr Clarke said: "Recruiting and training sufficient numbers of people to staff the expansion of early years and childcare services is a key priority for the government.

"Male childcarers play a vital and valuable role and we believe that the childcare industry needs to draw on a wider pool of talent if it is to ensure that children continue to get the best quality childcare and early education.

"I hope more men think about childcare as a career because they have so much to offer."

He said it now provided an attractive career option, with degree level training and management and business opportunities.

"Our research shows that the men who work in childcare thought that they had a positive role to play in a child's life and that the work was satisfying and enjoyable."

See also:

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