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International Men’s Day: Men in the frontline social care sector

Today is International Men’s Day. The day highlights some of the issues men and boys face in society. It also looks to promote jobs and sectors which men traditionally haven’t chosen for careers.

A report in 2019 published by The Guardian highlighted that only 18% of people working in social care are male. As a charity that works in the social care sector, across Richmond Fellowship, less than 30% of those working in front line roles are men. Whilst this may be better than others in the sector, as an organisation we still want to improve on this statistic. As the Guardian also said, social care ‘needs to change the public’s perception that a career in care is only for women’.

In the last month, the UK government launched a nationwide recruitment campaign to encourage more people to join the adult social care sector, so the conversations around the subject couldn’t be more timely.

To mark Men’s Day 2021 we hear from Matt, our Communications and Marketing Officer who previously worked as a front line member of staff in one of our services about how he finds working in a charity rewarding and how, as a man, you can make a real difference to people’s lives if you choose a career in the social care sector.

“As someone who’s been a person we support, worked in a service in a frontline role as a Community Link Worker and now work in our central services team as Marketing and Communications Officer I’ve been at all the touching points of our charity.

I’ve also met some incredibly inspiring men along the way. John, who I spoke to as part of our Radio Sparky podcast in January this year is one of those. He was also a person we support before he became an Employment Advisor. He uses his lived experience to support others and finds his role as a frontline member of staff very rewarding – we’ll be hearing more from John as part of our International Men’s Day social media campaign.”

“I would recommend Richmond Fellowship as a good place to work. It’s got a good work-life balance for me. One of the first things we did when I first started at Richmond Fellowship was take my daughter horse riding lessons” – John, Employment Advisor, Cambridgeshire Employment service.

“I personally came to Richmond Fellowship as a person we support, after experiencing bullying at work and domestic abuse by an ex-girlfriend and never considered working for the organisation. The thought never crossed my mind, until one day I was told about a vacancy in a service as a Community Link Worker. I came into my final Employment session with my Advisor, Anna in Cambridge and I said I’d applied for a job as a Community Link Worker at Richmond Fellowship. She was over the moon and 2 weeks later I went for the interview and was lucky enough to secure the role.

When I joined the Supported Housing service in Sudbury, Suffolk there were only 2 male members of staff out of a team of 8, myself and the Service Manager. When the Service Manager moved on, I became the only male member of staff. It then dawned on me, why do so few men apply or want a career in frontline services – not just within Richmond Fellowship but across the whole sector?

Our frontline roles such as Recovery Workers, Administrators, Employment Advisors and Community Link Workers are so rewarding, the difference you can make to people’s lives and helping the people we support along their recovery journeys is so inspiring. I know… I’ve done it.

I think that diversity across every part of an organisation or charity is vital. It’s important we break down boundaries to encourage more men to work in roles within sectors where they’re underrepresented just as it’s important that support is there for women to do the same. You need a diverse workforce and talent across all levels of an organisation to make it flourish.

I’m proud to work for a charity that has open and honest conversations about this, and there are ways we can raise issues at senior level through Listening Lunches, but the onus is on all of us, whoever we are, whatever our job role, to make change happen.

If you’re a man who’s never considered a job in the charity or care sector, it really is a great place to work. The roles can sometimes be challenging, but the feeling that you get from supporting people is incredibly rewarding. I never thought that I’d be where I am now 10 years ago and Richmond Fellowship has played an incredibly important part in my career progression, both personally and professionally”.

Inspired? Check out our vacancies page today and support us with Making Recovery Reality!