Location: UK: Midlands and North of England (delivered virtually)

Opportunity: Return-to-Work Coaching, Skills Training and Mentoring Programme

Programme Dates: May – June 2023; Oct – November 2023 (during school hours)

Apply by: Apply ASAP, latest 20 April 2023 (extended)

**Applications for the May cohort are now closed.  We will reopen the application process for October cohort in July 2023**

Women Returners and STEM Returners are excited to launch STEM ReCharge, a free-of-charge Return to Work Support Programme for 100 tech and engineering professionals based in the Midlands and North of England. The programme is open to all genders who have taken a caring-related career break of 12 months or more.

Participants on the programme will benefit from expert return-to-work coaching and skills training, sector-specific technical skills refreshing, mentoring and connection with a like-minded peer group.

The Return-to-Work Support Programme forms part of our 2023-24 STEM ReCharge Project, funded by the UK Government Equality Hub.

About the Programme

We have designed this comprehensive programme to provide tailored sector specific support to address your practical and psychological barriers to returning to work, to update your technical and professional knowledge and to develop your job search skills to make you return-to-work ready.

All components of the programme will be delivered remotely via Zoom and during school hours.  You’ll be in a small cohort of other returners to STEM, building a peer support network of like-minded individuals.

As the Programme is funded by the UK Government Equality Hub, there is no cost for attending but we do require your upfront commitment to provide us with baseline information, to complete the programme and to carry out a final evaluation.

How will I benefit?

The programme has been designed with key components to support you along the job-ready journey: a programme of Career Coaching and Job Skills Training Workshops, a Tech or Engineering ReFresh Week and a 1:1 Tech or Engineering Mentor.  The framework of support will include:

Return to Work Career Coaching & Job Skills Training Programme

There are 5 workshops in the Return to Work Career Coaching and Job Skills Training Programme. The workshops will be delivered by an expert Women Returners Coach. You will be in small groups of 10, creating a cohort of like-minded returners and building your peer support group. Sessions will be held during school hours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays with morning and afternoon options.

In the Career Coaching and Job Skills Training Programme, we will cover:

Return to Work Coaching Modules 

  • Build your professional confidence
  • Develop an optimal return to work mindset
  • Clarify your career direction
  • Identify your key strengths

Job Skills Training Modules 

  • Understand how to write a compelling CV
  • Learn how to create (or refresh) your LinkedIn profile following a career break
  • Develop interview skills and know how to prepare for an interview
  • Develop networking skills
  • Create an action plan for your return to work
  • Learn about flexible working and how to approach it with employers
  • Understanding the financials of returning to work

After the Career Coaching and Job Skills Training, you will be divided into two streams for sector-specific support:

Tech or Engineering ReFresh Week (3-4 days, during school hours)

Industry expects will deliver a series of interactive update sessions, to help you you to refresh your technical knowledge and prepare you for future interviews and returning to work. You will have the opportunity to learn from our speakers, to engage in discussion and to ask your questions.

Tech or Engineering Mentoring 

You will be matched with an experienced professional in your sector, to benefit from 1:1 mentoring support, with 3 sessions over 3 months. Your STEM ReCharge Mentor will be provide you with a range of support, for example:

  • Interview practice
  • Understanding the sector
  • Practical advice and guidance
  • Providing a confidential, supportive and encouraging sounding board
  • Supporting decision making

Monthly Drop-in Sesssions 

You will have the opportunity to join monthly drop-in sessions, to meet with a Women Returners Coach to ask your return to work questions and benefit from ongoing guidance and encouragement. There will a drop-in session focused on helping you to return to work and a drop-in session for people who have successfully secured a role to support your transition into employment.

Programme Timeline

The programme will offer two cohorts with the first cohort starting in May and the second in October.  The dates below outline the timeline of support for the May cohort. (You will have the option of selecting the October start date during your application process):

Application Process: Now open and will close 20 April, 5pm (extended, please do register ASAP, further details below)

Outcome of applications confirmed: 21 April 2023

Career Coaching & Skills Training Workshops:  Week commencing 1 May to week ending 16 June 2023

Skills ReFresh Week: Week commencing 19 June 2023

Mentoring Programme commences: June 2023

Monthly drop-in sessions: July 2023 – July 2024

Am I Eligible?

To join the STEM ReCharge Return to Work Support Programme you must meet the criteria set by the Government Equality Hub:

1) Applicants need to have taken a career break from work due to caring responsibilities (childcare or eldercare)
2) Applicants need to have been out of work for a minimum of 12 months as at 1 May 2023 (for May cohort) or 1 October 2023 (for October cohort), or have been working in a lower paid, lower skilled role due to caring responsibilities
3) Applicants must live in the Midlands or the North of England
4) Applicants must have the right to work in the UK

Applications are particularly welcomed from individuals with longer career breaks, from ethnic minority backgrounds and older age groups.

The Programme is aimed at people of all genders who wish to return to professional level work within technology or engineering.

What is the Selection Process?

If the programme is oversubscribed, the following information will be used to
prioritise places (in this order):

1) Length of your career break, with priority given to longer career breaks
2) Applicants with at least 3 years of work experience within a tech or engineering role will be given priority
3) The order in which the applications are received e.g. first come, first served

Other demographic data included in the application process will not form any part of the selection process. It will be used to help us to better understand the cohort, and to provide baseline data to input into the evaluation of the effectiveness of the programme.

How to Register

The application process is now open here and you can register with your preference for the May or October cohort. The application process will close on 20 April 2023 at 5pm (extended).

The process will take 15-20 minutes to complete but we recommend putting aside 30 minutes to give adequate time for your application. Please note that you cannot save and return to the application, so do ensure you have sufficient time to complete.

After you have answered all the questions, you will see confirmation that the application is complete.

The outcome of your application will be confirmed by 24 April 2023.

Any Questions

If you have any questions on the STEM ReCharge Support Programme or the application process, please visit our FAQs here.  If your question is not in the FAQ document, please email STEMReCharge@womenreturners.com 

Data Privacy

Individual data will only be accessed by Women Returners and STEM Returners for the purposes of the STEM ReCharge project and will not be shared with any third party. An analysis of the data will be provided to the Project Funder, the Government Equality Hub, for reporting and evaluation purposes.

You can view the full data privacy notice here.