With unemployment figures at record levels in recent years, men in particular are denying themselves a stable and fulfilling career by not considering opportunities in the healthcare sector - that's the verdict of University of Plymouth health education experts.
The University's Faculty of Health and Social Work is hosting a specially organised event this Friday, aimed at those who are interested in a healthcare profession career, but as men, think it's not for them. 'Men Into Health', which is now in its second year, is an informal drop-in event which provides the opportunity to find out about the different professions available, complete with practical demonstrations on various disciplines including Operating Department Practice, Paramedicine and Social Work.
Organiser Louise Baker, Widening Participation Officer at the University of Plymouth, says women greatly outnumber men in this sector and there are lots of exciting career opportunities that men just aren't taking advantage of; "The number of males choosing to enter employment within a health or social care setting is extremely low but the opportunities for employment are vast. On top of this, there is also financial support available for many health courses, so it is an affordable training route with long-term career benefits."
34 year old shop assistant John Anderson, who lives in Plymouth, attended the event last year after reading about it in his local newspaper. He will start his training to be a Paramedic in September; "The event last year was excellent. It ended much of my apprehension about entering the health sector and it was good to talk about the issues relevant to men and find out how they have overcome them. I've had an ambition to train as a paramedic for many years and so I am over the moon to be finally doing it."
At the other end of the spectrum, University of Plymouth Midwifery lecturer Lee Wright is one of only 130 male midwives in Britain and is a real life example of the success that men can enjoy in the healthcare sector. With a career spanning 24 years, he became a midwife having had a change of heart after applying for the army; "The reward for me is the diversity of people and work that midwifery involves. I get immense satisfaction from helping couples have a positive birth experience - they will always remember me even if I don't always remember them. Men need to get involved in pregnancy and childbirth - it's a myth that men are less able to care for babies, they just need to confidence. A strong male midwife can provide a role model for those men and help them become better parents."
'Men Into Health' takes place Friday 12 June 2009 10am-4pm at the University's Peninsula Allied Health Centre (PAHC) Building which is situated next to Derriford Hospital.