by Maxwell Kusi-Obodum, Southern Daily Echo - Senior reporter

Prospective childcare workers are being urged to take their first steps in getting their foot on the career ladder.

Early-years organisations are inviting people to a job fair in Southampton – and are particularly searching for men to join their ranks.

Paint Ports Nursery is hosting the event in Spring Crescent, Portswood, on Wednesday, June 24.

Childcare organisations will be on hand to discuss job and career opportunities and the range of training and qualification courses.

The nursery is eager to recruit more men as Southampton is one of only two local authorities backing a Fatherhood Institute initiative to attract more men to work and volunteer in the sector.

It follows figures revealing a lack of men in pre-schools with men making up less than two per cent of staff there – while 25 per cent of primary schools in England have no male employees.

Paint Pots owner Anna Wright – who already employs six men – is recruiting under the slogan ‘Anna Wants a Man’ but is keen to appoint the best person for the job whether male or female.

Schools, local colleges, trainers and employers are being invited to promote careers working with children under five to men and boys.

The Southampton Area Men in Early Years (SAMEY) has been set up to promote the campaign and support male workers.

The fair runs from 2-8pm and all are welcome.