A YOUNG Gilford man is challenging the stereotype of childcare being a female-only domain by becoming an approved childminder.
Josh Boyd (21), who lives in Gilford, was inspired to work with children by his primary seven teacher, the late Philip Wallace, who died suddenly in December aged 43.
Mr Wallace taught at Maralin Village PS, and was Josh’s first male teacher. He said, “He was such an excellent teacher. He involved the children and made everything accessible and fun.
“He prepared us really well for secondary school and made learning a more interactive and pleasant experience.”
Josh hopes to bring these same qualities to his new job, in particular a positive male perspective and a high degree of engagement. He said, “I am more likely to involve the children in outside activities as I love sport and I play rugby for Lurgan.”
The former Banbridge Academy pupil is employed by Approved Home Childcare, a new service offered by Employers For Childcare Charitable Group which provides childcare in the family home.
The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and parents only pay for the hours they use.
After doing GCSEs and A Levels, Josh went on to Belfast Metropolitan College where he completed a two-year NVQ Level 3 CACHE Diploma in Childcare and Education. He has also undertaken classes in child protection and paediatric first aid.
As part of his course, Josh spent an allotted number of days per week on placement at Drumnamoe Nursery School in Lurgan as a nursery assistant and as a classroom assistant in the P1/2 class at his old primary school.
For the last six years he has been a volunteer at the Popcorn Club, the youth club run by his church, Lisburn Christian Fellowship, and plans activities for children of all ages and abilities.
He added, “Because of my qualifications and experience, I was immediately attracted to the advertisement for Approved Home Childcarers, it sounded like the perfect fit. I’m really looking forward to being matched with a family and putting into practice everything I have learnt about childcare over the past seven years.”
Josh has received nothing but support from his friends and family - mum and dad Julie and Gavin, brother Simon and sister Helen - as regards his choice of career. He explained, “All my friends know I have always been interested in working with children and young people, so it came as no surprise to them. And both my brother and sister vounteer at the youth club as well.
“Even my team mates at Lurgan Rugby Club don’t give me a hard time! In fact I’m looking forward to being a dad myself one day.”
He added, “The fact that working in childcare is never put forward as an option at school may be a reason why more young men don’t consider childcare as a possible career choice. Even the wider general view in society that ‘men don’t look after children’ can put people off.”
However, a spokesperson for Approved Home Childcare pointed out that there is a rising trend, particularly in the US, of young men considering a career in the sector. “Mannies, as opposed to nannies, are slowly becoming the norm,” she said.
Profits from Approved Home Childcare enable Employers for Childcare to offer free, confidential, impartial advice and information to parents on family benefits and all childcare and work related issues.
Any parent interested in using the service or anyone interested in becoming a childcarer can find out more by calling freephone 0800 206 1488, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website www.approvedhomechildcare.com.