Early Years Education training for West Lothian men

A new course at West Lothian College is encouraging men to consider a career in Early Learning and Childcare. With only 4% of the early years workforce being male, this course is designed to address the gender imbalance.

The course, which runs on Thursday evenings at the college, includes 13 men ranging in age from 16 to over 50.

The men have taken up the course for different reasons like wanting to switch careers into working with children or a desire to learn more about early development so that they can understand their own children better.

Thomas Mckay, 27, said: “I’ve got two young kids who I’ve been watching grow and who I’ve been teaching as well. I looked at this as something to help with that and to give me something more fulfilling. It’s really opened my eyes to what goes on in a nursery and with young kids’ development that you don’t realise.”

Sixteen-year-old Alexander Peden said: “I was doing Duke of Edinburgh and I started helping out at the Scout group I was with and enjoyed helping the younger ones there. I started volunteering at the Family Centre in Broxburn and that was good as well. I did some work experience in a primary school and decided that’s what I wanted to do. So this is my first step into that.”

College lecturer Ann Cockburn added: “It’s great to see so many men from different backgrounds coming along in the evening to West Lothian College to further their knowledge and desire to work in early learning and childcare.

“Each of the students have different life skills which can easily be transferred and they all have so much to offer to our young people. This course allows them to see what a rewarding career childcare can be and hopefully, encourage more men into the profession.”

West Lothian College designed the course after successfully bidding for funding from the Men into Childcare Challenge Fund, administered by the Scottish Funding Council and funded by the Scottish Government. The purpose of the Challenge Fund was to trial new approaches to tackling the underrepresentation of men in Early Learning and Childcare and increase the number of men applying for and successfully completing registered qualifications in ELC.