Men Wanted - Men Wanted! Men targeted for Childcare and Care courses at West Highland College UHI

West Highland College UHI is one of the colleges within the University of the Highlands and Islands partnership which is introducing fast-track childcare and care courses targeted at men in a bid to tackle gender stereotypes and encourage more people into the care and childcare sectors.  In addition, a new programme is beginning in September aimed at both men and women who have been out of education for some time and might lack the necessary qualifications but who want to pursue a career in nursing. 

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The early years and childcare profession is facing a skills shortage, with Scotland needing around 11,000 new childcare workers by 2020 to meet the Scottish Government’s commitment to provide 30 hours of free childcare to eligible 2-year-olds and 3-4-year-olds by 2020.  The demand for skilled workers means there’s never been a better time to find employment as a childcare worker in this fun, rewarding and challenge sector. 

In the care sector, there is an increasing number of men living longer and an accompanying need for male care workers to support these individuals in daily living and personal care.  Younger male service users prefer the support of men to allow them to socialise and develop life skills in situations that may make them uncomfortable with female workers. 

The Scottish Government, NHS and many service providers have recognised these gaps in service provision in both sectors, which is why West Highland College UHI is keen to encourage male applicants who might want to change their career or take up a new direction of study. 

Jonathan Rough is currently studying HNC Social Services at the college whilst also working as a residential care worker for ACAD (Applied Care and Development) in Lochiel.  He explained: 

“Working in care is challenging but, above all else, it is the most rewarding work environment I have ever experienced.  Studying the HNC has allowed me to apply theory to my working role and appreciate that everything we do, especially the little things, can change a young person's experience of care.   Young people need strong male role models in their lives and I want to be sure that my skills are the best they can be to allow me to fulfil that role.” 

The college will be introducing two, pilot, 10 week “Men into Care” and” Men into Childcare” courses in April. They will be delivered at the same level as a Higher and run in the early evening, accessible across all of our college centres using video-conferencing and the college’s virtual learning environment.   Students who successfully complete the course will be guaranteed an interview to the HNC Childhood Practice  or HNC Social Services, which start in August. 

Claire Pardoe, Curriculum Area Lead for Social Sciences, Supported Learning, Early Education and Care at West Highland College UHI explained “We are seeing an increase in the number of men choosing to study care and childcare, and we know that perceptions are changing.

However, we recognise there’s much more work to be done to ensure we are providing a skilled, diverse and gender balanced workforce for Scotland’s schools and nurseries and for the caring professions generally to provide male role models for children and care service users to look up to.  Men working in early years and care  also report high levels of job satisfaction – not only are they careers full of variety, with indoor and outdoor working, it offers flexible hours and lots of opportunities for progression. The success of our HNC Social Services course as an access route into the nursing profession also encouraged us to look at more ways to provide more support for potential applicants for nursing qualifications.“ 

Access to Nursing course allows greater range of eligibility 

A new SWAP (Scottish Widening Access Programme) Access to Nursing programme has also been introduced for adult learners who want a second chance at education and who aim to fulfil their academic potential by studying for a higher education qualification to allow them to take up Nursing as a profession. The programmes are designed to provide a supportive environment for adults returning to education and you don’t usually need any formal qualifications for entry. This course is for both men and women and will begin in September 2019 – again accessible from all WHC UHI college centres in Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross. 

West Highland College UHI has a portfolio of care and childcare courses: 

Foundation Apprenticeships (Social Services, Children and Young People)  

NC in Early Education and Childcare and an HNC Childhood Practice, which qualifies students to work as a childcare support worker and childhood practitioner respectively. Students can also choose to progress from the HNC Childhood Practice to the BA (Hons) Child and Youth Studies or BA (Hons) Childhood Practice

For those interested in the Care sector or perhaps a career in Nursing, we also have Foundation Apprenticeship (Social Services and Healthcare) for S5 and S6 pupils still at school,  NC Health and Social Care and (Access to Nursing) and an HNC Social Services which can lead to BA (Hons) Health and Social Studies or BSc Nursing