For 120 years Norland College has trained young women to be professional caretakers of children. And this year, for only the second time, a young man has joined its ranks.
Eighteen-year-old Michael Kenny wasn't sure that the college in England even accepted male students, so he called up Norland to check, reports the Bath Chronicle. Now Kenny is embarking on the four-year, 55,660 pound ($88,644) degree, along with 48 women at the world-renowned school in Bath.
Kenny admits that he was teased by friends at first when he told them of his plans to enroll, but his female classmates welcomed him enthusiastically, he told the newspaper, taking extra care to make sure that he's comfortable.
More: Confessions Of A NannyKenny decided to get his nanny credentials after a period teaching disabled children in an orphanage in Uganda, where his family lives. He says that he plans to nanny for a few years, and then earn a postgraduate certificate in education to become a teacher.
The past few years have seen a surge of young men seeking jobs as a nannies. The nanny referral database, Nannies4Hire.com, saw a 10 percent increase in male nannies from 2011, reports the blog Parenting. And the New York City child-care recruitment agency, Hey Day Nannies, claims that in recent years "mannies" have made up 10 percent of their placements. Forty of the 500 qualified nannies on file at The Cambridge Nanny Group in Chicago are men.
according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the uptick in mannies may indicate long-term trend; of the 15 industries projected to grow the fastest by 2016, 12 are traditionally female ones, reports New York magazine. So, in the search for employment, more and more men may need to buck old gender divisions of labor.
And more parents are seeking out male nannies too, Fox News reported, especially parents with young boys who are looking for an older brother figure to take the kids out for rough-and-tumble play.
But in one respect, Kenny couldn't fulfill Norland's requirements for its students. The college famously demands that it students wear a belted-dress uniform, originally required to set their graduates apart from "untutored" housemaids. Kenny wears beige pants and a tweed jacket instead.
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