Home diversity Who needs a man? The care industry!

Who needs a man? The care industry!

by Kirsty Kirsty

When you think of a carer, what gender are you imagining? Is it a woman? It probably is, because unfortunately being a carer is seen as a ‘feminine’ job, but it is far from that! 

I’m the Head of Operations at Embark Learning Care Academy, we are an established training provider, which helps carers, new or fully qualified, achieve nationally recognised qualifications for free. This is something that has generated huge interest and that we have done with great success throughout the West Midlands, whatever the gender. 

Granted, I would say three quarters of the applicants we have are women, but we are beginning to see an increase in men on our courses and this continues to grow every year.  

We want adult social care to be seen as a rewarding career by all. However, people who identify as male are currently underrepresented, making up only 18% of the workforce according to industry statistics*.

At Embark Learning Care Academy and our recruitment partners, Fairway Homecare, we believe that recruiting and retaining more males will help with the capacity shortages in the sector and lead to a more diverse range of carers, that better reflect the diversity of the people they support.

For years, we have been trying to break down the ingrained stereotypes and deeply entrenched perceptions of health and social care as ‘work for women’ by encouraging more males into the sector through our various recruitment approaches.

And it seems to be working! This year on our Step into Care programme, an employment scheme funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority, the ratio of male to female is currently 27%, which is 9% above the national average. This is an increase of 5% on last year.

We believe that it’s essential to recognise and support the male 50+ and youth demographics, as they play a vital role in the care workforce. Embark, Fairway and DWP work hard towards breaking stereotypes by encouraging more male carers to join the sector as, unfortunately, they are an underrepresented group.

We have worked with hundreds of men who now have a successful career in care, one such success story is David, who had to quit work to become a full time carer for his father, who was diagnosed with dementia alongside his mother who was severely disabled. He cared for his parents for more than 10 years, but they both unfortunately passed away within a year of each other. 

David was unsure of what to do next with his life, when he stumbled on Embark at a local job fair. So, he signed up for the course and excelled during his training, supported by his trainers, as well as the other students on the course. Once David completed his training, he went to an interview with Fairway, who found and secured him employment, where he still grows in his skillset, confidence and happiness in the role he has found. David is just one of the many success stories we’ve had with men who have taken part in our courses, they don’t think of it as a woman’s job, they just see it as a rewarding career that they can be happy in. 

So, I think as an industry, we need to continue to share these stories with men being happy and successful in their care roles and perhaps we can change the perception around care workers primarily being women, it’s for anyone who wants an uplifting and satisfying job.

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