Better qualification and training would attract more boys into jobs in the childcare sector, according to a new report from the Equal Opportunities Commission.
Figures show that only 4 per cent of childcare workers are male and there are only 15 male childcare modern apprentices in Scotland, 1.5 per cent of the total. However, three in 10 (27 per cent) of the men surveyed would consider working in the childcare sector.
The EOC said that key barriers to recruiting men into childcare still existed. They were:
* Poor pay and conditions.
* The perception of childcare as being "women's work" and a belief that men are unwelcome.
* Insufficient information for boys at schools on caring careers and apprenticeships, despite high levels of interest.
Men's growing interest in the childcare sector is being linked to the increasingly active role they play in bringing up their children.
The report, Men into Childcare, suggests that a more diverse workforce significantly improves the quality of provision by exposing children to a wider range of positive role models.
Rowena Arshad, EOC Scotland commissioner, said: "We know that men are interested in working with children, with nearly a third of men saying they would think about the childcare sector as a career. We know that children benefit when more men are involved. And we know that more than three-quarters of parents would like to see more men working in their children's nurseries, play centres and after-school clubs. So it's time to start dismantling the barriers that stand in men's way."
In Denmark, men make up 8 per cent of the childcare workforce, recruitment campaigns are targeted at men and childcare workers are trained "pedagogues" able to work with a range of children. Norway hopes that by 2010 a fifth of childcare workers will be men.