I found it interesting that one of Canada’s largest cities has taken on an initiative because of concerns that 80% of their teachers are female. See attached article. Yet is continues to be difficult to convince ECE Educators, Provincial Governments, or Employers in Centres to consider any significant initiative when the number of women in our ECE programs in Canada is still at 96-97%.
Some of my dreams for the future would be:
1. Training institutions should reserve 10% of their spaces for men until 4 weeks before the course begins. Reserving spaces for men would send a clear message that they are wanted and needed in our industry.
2. If they are unable to attract enough men to fill 10% of their classes, they should be asked to identify what specific efforts were taken to fill these spaces, and consult with their local MECE group for help with the recruitment.
3. The Government of Manitoba could set a goal to having 10% of the trained and untrained workforce in child care be of the male persuasion.
3. That the Government of Manitoba fund the MECE group to run a pre-employment program ( minimum 40 hours) for men who are investigating a career change or just interested in considering this as a career choice. This model has worked so successfully in Scotland.
4. The Government of Manitoba consider funding the MECE group so that staffing time could be consistently given to improve our results in attracting men into our sector.
It never hurts to dream and it never hurts to cast your vision out to others, as you never know where these ideas can lead.
Ron Blatz, Executive Director
Discovery Children’s Centre Inc.
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada