A government-funded programme has been unveiled to help parents and carers in the Midlands and the North of England return to STEM industries after a career break.
The free-of-charge STEM ReCharge initiative, launched and funded by the Government Equality Hub, will provide sector-specific return to work coaching.
Delivered by Women Returners and STEM Returners, the initiative will offer mentoring, job skills training and upskilling to prospective returners with tech or engineering experience.
The STEM ReCharge programme will address both practical and psychological barriers to returning to work, and aim to rebuild confidence, assist in writing a back to work CVs and hone interview skills.
Participants will then receive one on one mentoring and an opportunity to attend a tech or engineering ReFresh Week with industry experts. There will also be follow-on support with finding suitable work opportunities and reintegrating into the workforce.
Employers in the Midlands and the North of England will also be provided support in recruiting and retaining STEM returners.
STEM ReCharge is being rolled out in the Midlands and the North of England after analysis by Women Returners and STEM Returners suggested these areas have far fewer returner programmes than the south.
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.”
Natalie Desty, Director of STEM Returners, added, “As an industry, we need to do more to increase the opportunity for returners in STEM and lower the barriers they face when they try to resume their careers. We would like to encourage returners and employers to take advantage of this free programme and work together to help more parents and carers return to work.”