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STEM ReCharge Returner Programme now open for applications!

Supporting people back to STEM, STEM ReCharge Returners Programme

ARTICLE SUMMARY

The STEM ReCharge Returners Programme is now open for applications!

Parents and carers in the Midlands and the North of England trying to return to STEM industries can apply for the STEM ReCharge initiative, delivered by Women Returners and STEM Returners.

The programme, launched and funded by the Government Equality Hub, will provide return to work career coaching, job skills training and sector-specific upskilling and mentoring to returners with tech or engineering experience.

Employers inthe Midlands and the North of Englandcan also benefit from the free-of-charge training and support to enable them to better recruit and retain this talent pool who are so often overlooked.

Employer Insight Events will also take place in Leeds (24 April), Liverpool (25 April) and Birmingham (26 April), where local organisations can find out more about the training and learn from the experience of Women Returners and STEM Returners, together with successful returner employers and returners. The events are being supported by local authorities and business leaders.

Julianne Miles

Speaking about the programme, Julianne Miles, CEO of Women Returners, said, “Over the last nine years, we have seen the multiple challenges parents and carers face when trying to return to professional roles after a long career break.”

“More support is needed around the UK, but particularly in the Midlands and the North.”

“Working together with local employers, we can create more supported routes back to work for parents and carers and continue to dismantle the career break penalty that is so evident in STEM.”

There are currently around 75,000 people (the majority women) who are economically inactive due to caring responsibilities in the UK, who had a STEM occupation before their career and who would like to return to work in the future, according to government figures. Additionally, many more professionals are working well below their skills levels around their family. These talented professionals face an uphill battle when trying to get back to professional work, with a range of challenges from lack of self-confidence to widespread recruiter bias against people with a gap on their CV.

The STEM ReCharge coaching and job skills programme will address practical and psychological barriers, providing a range of support including rebuilding confidence, balancing work and caring, writing a back to work CV and honing interview skills.

Participants will then receive 1:1 mentoring for a tech or engineering mentor, and an opportunity to attend a tech or engineering ReFresh Week with updating sessions from industry experts to prepare them for interviews. Small group sessions will encourage motivating return-to-work support networks. There will be follow-on support with finding suitable work opportunities and reintegrating into the workforce.

STEM ReCharge is being rolled out in the Midlands and the North of Englandafter analysis carried out by Women Returners and STEM Returners showed these areas have far fewer returner programmes than southern areas. From 2020 to 2022 there were 1.6 returner programmes per million people in the Midlands, 2.3 programmes in the North East and Yorkshire and 2.5 programmes in the North West, compared with 7.8 programmes in London and 5.3 programmes in the South West.

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