Location: UK: Midlands and North of England (delivered virtually)
Opportunity: Return-to-Work Coaching, Skills Training, STEM ReFresh and Mentoring Programme
Programme Dates: October – November 2023 (during school hours), with follow-on support until mid-2024
Apply by: Apply ASAP (first come, first served; may close earlier)
**This programme is now closed for applications**
Women Returners and STEM Returners are excited to launch the second cohort of STEM ReCharge, a free-of-charge Return to Work Support Programme for 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 job skills training, STEM-specific technical skills refreshing, mentoring, connection with a like-minded peer group, connections to employers and ongoing support sessions.
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. However, we do require your upfront commitment to provide us with baseline information, to complete the programme and to carry out a final evaluation.
The first cohort of this programme started in May 2023, here is what the participants told us:
“I’m glad to inform you that I have received a job offer. Thank you for all your immense support and guidance I have received through this programme.”
“I wish I had attended sessions like this sooner; they may have helped me make more progress in my return journey.”
“I’ve secured a job! I finally had the courage after your workshop to negotiate the salary and flexible time directly with the Hiring Manager and they were very open and understanding. I’m happy with the outcome, so thank you for giving me the confidence and the support to approach this.”
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, a 1:1 Tech or Engineering Mentor, Connection with employers and ongoing support until mid-2024. 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 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 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
Connection with Employers
With your agreement, your profile will be shared with employers in the regions interested in hiring returners to STEM.
Monthly Drop-in Sessions
You will have the opportunity to join monthly group drop-in sessions until mid-2024. You will 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.
Application Process: Now open and will close 10 September, 5pm or sooner if the programme is full.
Outcome of applications confirmed: Following registration and subject to meeting the funding criteria you will be contacted to arrange a 1:1 conversation. Thereafter your place on the programme will be confirmed in writing.
Career Coaching & Skills Training Workshops: Once a week for 5 weeks, commencing 3 October ending 7 November 2023. There will be no workshops delivered during the half-term week of 23 October.
Skills ReFresh: 3 days across 2 weeks in mid November 2023.
Mentoring Programme commences: Mid November 2023.
Monthly drop-in sessions: December 2023 – June 2024.
Am I Eligible?
To join the STEM ReCharge Return to Work Support Programme you must meet ALL the criteria set by the Government Equality Hub below:
- Applicants must live in the Midlands or the North of England
- Applicants need to have taken a career break from work due to caring responsibilities (childcare or eldercare)
- 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
- 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 who meet the above criteria.
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?
Subject to meeting the funding criteria above, places on the programme will be allocated in the order they are received e.g. first come, first served. There are limited places on the programme.
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
Please apply by completing the application form here. The application process will close when the programme is full.
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.
Within 14 days of your application being received, you will be contacted by the STEM ReCharge Team to arrange a brief conversation. Thereafter your place will be confirmed in writing.
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
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.