Wales needs more men to work in social care
13 December 2019
In Wales, there is a significant gender imbalance in the social care workforce, meaning that some people are missing out on the right care and support for their needs.
49-year-old William Betters is one of a handful of men working in care in his community for the past five years. He is incredibly vocal about the role he plays in his Flintshire community, looking after older and vulnerable people. He wants to break the stereotype that a position in care is only for women by encouraging more men to become care workers in his locality.
He said: “It’s a common misconception that care work is more suited to women. They’re seen as the more kind and caring gender. I want to break this stereotype. There are kind, hardworking and caring men out there who would make fantastic care workers, but they may not have ever thought about working in the sector.
“I want to encourage them to give caring a go. I have found it to be an extremely rewarding career path. No two days are the same and I work with wonderful individuals and make lifelong friends of our service users.
“By having male carers for male service users, we’re also helping to prevent many from being very lonely. Loneliness is a silent epidemic among men in Britain, with more than one in three feeling lonely at least once a week.”
In Cardiff, Christine Davies is also calling on more men to consider working in social care to act as male role models to men and boys who need support, like her son Thomas who has learning difficulties and autism.
Since being excluded from a residential placement at the age of 18, Thomas has been working with his two support workers, Dan and Ricky, who give him the physical and emotional support he needs.
Ricky, 34, said: “It’s vital for Thomas to have men on his team for some aspects relating to dignity and changes he goes through.
“I don’t think people realise how varied working in social care can be. You can bring your personal interests into your work and share your skills with those you support as well.”
Dan and Ricky both have similar interests to Thomas when it comes to fitness and music and have had a positive impact on his lifestyle by helping build his confidence, motivation and communication skills.
Christine said: “I’ve seen a remarkable change in Thomas since he’s been working with his support workers. His motivation has improved, and he’s become a lot more enthusiastic and confident.
“Thomas has always had an interest in running and loves going to the gym. He used to be very withdrawn, so it was essential that his support workers understood how important his hobbies were to him.”
Thomas said: “I think it’s really important for me to have male support workers. I look up to them like my older brothers.”
For more information on the roles available, and details of local employers in the social care, early years and childcare sectors in Wales, visit www.wecare.wales.