Jeff Brazier started his TV career in reality show Shipwrecked and has since gone on the become a popular kids TV presenter, celebrity wrestler and a proud father.His latest project is supporting a campaign to encourage more men to get into careers in childcare. Jeff spent the day at a local nursery helping look after the kids there. Female First caught up with him in between the messy fun and games for a quick chat......So what have you been up to today then at the nursery?
Well we've had a great day. Firstly this is one of the best nurseries I can imagine being out there. It's a nice new building so everything is brand new, but that aside some of the things that they are having the kids doing I just didn't think they did in nursery- making as much mess as possible is encouraged which I think is brilliant. We've had the sahving foam out, mixing it with paint, just encouraging them to get it all over them. I've needed a few changes of clothes mind you but it's a great nursery. It's the Raindrops nursery in Harlow.Why are you supporting the campaign?
Well as you know I'm here for the Department of Children, Schools and Families' campaign and it is to get more people- especially men- working in early years and childcare. I think from being a father- this is where my concern comes in- it's all about role models for kids. They're learning all the time and they're like sponges. They're watching everything that every adult does. So it would seem when they're at nursery it is a bit of a shame that the majority of people in childcare are female. So to address the balance there needs to be more men working. Good boys-good men- that are working at nurseries that my children can learn from. Girls obviously look at what the women are doing and it's only natural that my boys would benefit from seeing what a man gets up to on a daily basis. They learn from their dad but why not learn while they're at nursery as well.
Why do you think there is such a lack of men in childcare?
I think it's just that the traditional look of the industry is that it is predominantly women who work in it and that maybe it's a little bit of a girly thing but all the taboos have been broken these days to a point where it doesn't matter what sex you are to do a particular job. And as for why a young man should be interested in doing this for your job- firstly, as I know from being a parent, there is nothing more rewarding than playing with or working with children.
It's a very fulfilling career obviously. Some people who come out of college want to make a contribution to society and they want to do something that makes a difference but what better way than to come and do something that effects so many little kids' futures by giving them the best footing possible.
Would you ever consider working in childcare if you didn't have a TV career?
That's a good question and I think the reason why I am so interested in it is because I am a parent. It takes either being a parent or having some natural kind of desire. You know a lot of kids might be leaving college and thinking well I've got younger brothers and sisters and I like playing with them so I might like to do that on a daily basis. I mean you would have so much fun.
All the kids here are just so content. I obviously go to my kids' nursery quite a lot and they are so happy to go there and be there- it would be a really good environment to work in.
So how often do you actually look after your kids yourself?
Two or three days a week I have my boys.
What kind of activities do you like doing with them?
Well there's always a box round my house because I 've just moved into a new place. So we are always making castles out of that and drawing and painting on it. That sort of thing.
I'm lucky enough to live in a nice area where we've got a bit of countryside and we're always off over by where the river is with our welly boots on, dipping our toes in there. Just going off to the park. And now the weather is nice I've been going off to my local gym because they've got an open air swimming pool and the kids love going round the pool so that's always a good way to spend an afternoon. You are a single parent at the moment. Do you find having kids makes it hard to settle down with someone?
I've had a girlfriend for a year and three quarters now but I'm single in the sense that I'm not with their mother. Being a single parent can make it hard sometimes to meet people but at the end of the day if someone can't accept you and what comes with you then they're not the right person anyway.
So what else have you been up to recently?
I've been setting up a business actually with a friend and it's using the contacts and experience I've gained in the last seven years to start a celebrity booking agency. There's not really anything to it. I mean I've got relationships with agents and people in the industry and there's a lot of corporate big companies who will hire celebrities and sports people to do events and their PR campaigns and things. So I've got a bit of experience from being hired for these sorts of things myself so I'm just gonna take that and set up a business really.
You started off on Shipwrecked. What do you think of the reality TV trend at the moment? Is there too much these days?
I don't know. I think people started having a problem with it maybe two years ago and theres still as much of it out there. I always think it's a bit of shame when you get people on Big Brother and they're so much more savvy to it than what they would be a few years ago. Something gets lost in that I find. But I still enjoy watching reality TV to be quite truthful.
And have you been watching Big Brother this year?
Yeah I have and it's all about characters. I few years ago I'd watch a reality show and there'd be people that I liked on there and I'd watch it because of that The change has been, and only because the producers of these shows are choosing certain characters- the people are different from what they were going for a few years ago- but now we watch it because there are people that we dislike. It's a shame for them because really they are setting themselves up for a little bit of a tough time. You know the Charley's and so on and so fourth. I dread the time when I see this girl out. I don't know what I'd ever say to her. She was just an awful awful character in there.
And who do you think is going to win?
I think Brian will win- because he's unassuming, nice and I think people like to see someone who isn't quite obviously there for a certain reason. He's generally quite nice to everyone and gets on with everyone and he comes out with a few funny comments at t times. Yeah I can see why people warm to him and he's probably the best out of that lot I think.
Jeff is supporting The Department for Children, Schools and Families Working in Early Years. Its not just childs play recruitment campaign which aims to encourage more people, particular men to consider working in Early Years and Childcare. It is estimated that thousands of people need to be recruited to work in the sector to support the expansion of childcare services.
The campaign is asking anyone wanting advice on getting into a career in childcare to call their freephone helpline on 0800 99 66 00 or visit their website at www.childcarecareers.gov.uk
Caz Moss- Female First
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