Carer’s campaign to attract more men to the profession

The Oxford Times: Vanessa Pryor, activities co-ordinator at Ferendune Court in Faringdon, with resident Irene Telling Vanessa Pryor, activities co-ordinator at Ferendune Court in Faringdon, with resident Irene Telling

A CARE worker from Faringdon has started a campaign to get more men into the industry which she says is facing a “drastic” staffing shortage.

Vanessa Pryor, an activities co-ordinator at Ferendune Court care home, says more needs to be done to attract male carers.

Women currently make up 82 per cent of carers across the country, and whereas just 4.2 per cent of the male workforce is employed in health and social care, nearly one in six women work in the sector.

Research carried out by Ms Pryor’s employer, Anchor, which runs the care home in Faringdon, showed that England could face a shortfall of 718,000 care workers by 2025.

Ms Pryor, 26, a care worker of three years, said: “There is a drastic shortage of staff in the care sector. We need more men to consider care as a potential career – particularly as men are living longer.

“Our workforce should reflect the diversity of our customers.”

Anchor also found that even though 94 per cent of young people agree care is a suitable profession for a man, a quarter of men aged 16 to 25 say they would never consider becoming a carer.

Nearly a third of young men said they simply didn’t know enough about the job to consider it.

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Ferendune Court activities adviser Asa Johnson said there is a stereotype that care was a “woman’s job”.

He said: “Men are living longer and using care services more, and it is important to have a mix of staff, not just in gender but in background as well.

“A male client might feel more comfortable talking to a male carer about some things. It is a rewarding job and I have managed to develop a career out of it.”

The number of people aged over 85 in Oxfordshire is expected to increase by 168 per cent between 2011 and 2035, from 14,683 to 39,400 according to figures from the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

Oxfordshire director of public health, Dr Jonathan McWilliam, has described the county’s ageing population as the number one challenge facing the health service and said the only way to tackle it is to work with the voluntary sector and carers much closer.

Meanwhile, breaking gender stereotypes to attract men is also an issue in the childcare sector.

The Co-operative Childcare has launched its own campaign to increase the number of male nursery workers in the UK, changing what it calls “misguided gender stereotypes” about men in the industry.

General group manager at The Co-operative Childcare, Mike Abbott, said: “Gender stereotypes in childcare are holding some men in Oxford back from what could be the perfect career path for them where they can positively influence our next generation.”

IN NUMBERS

The Ageing Crisis:
168 per cent – the projected increase in people over 85 in Oxfordshire between 2011 and 2035, from 14,683 to 39,400.
718,000 – the projected shortfall of carers in England by 2025.
82 per cent – the number of carers who are women
4.2 – the percentage of the male workforce employed in health and social care
25 per cent – the number of men aged 16 to 25 who say they would never consider becoming a carer.

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