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Currently, there are 436,000 people in the UK who are not in work because of family commitments but would like to find suitable employment; 40,000 of them are in Yorkshire and the Humber. We believe that helping to improve the employment rate for these individuals will not only help them personally, but it can also help to plug skills shortages. Employers could also benefit from increased diversity of their workforce and talent pipeline.

The problem of getting more parent returners back into work is two-fold. On the one hand, individuals may be reluctant to put themselves forward for a role if they’ve been out of the jobs market for a while, even when they're more than qualified. We also know that the lack of flexible working arrangements offered by many employers can deter people from going back to work or make it practically impossible for them to do so.

We believe that supporting employers and individuals alike is the most effective way to change the current situation and that is what we are aiming to do through the CIPD Parent Returner Programme. Funded by the Government Equalities Office, the programme addresses the challenges faced by both employers and returners via bespoke training and support.

From September 2019 to June 2020 People Professionals from our membership will provide free mentoring and coaching support to up to 150 out of work parents in Yorkshire and the Humber to help build their skills and confidence to re-enter the workplace following a year or more out of employment. 25 employers will also receive training to improve their 'returner' recruitment policies and practices. If successful we hope to extend the programme to other areas.

If you are based in, or close to, Yorkshire and the Humber, see how you can get involved.

Are you...

A volunteer

Are you a CIPD member who would like to volunteer to support parent returners as a Steps Ahead Mentor (training will be provided)?

Find out more

An employer

Interested in knowing how we are working with employers to widen their talent pool and become more inclusive?

Find out more

How will the programme work?

150 parents from Yorkshire and the Humber will be offered free, tailored support to help them return to work that is suitable to their skills and experience after a year or more away. This will include mentoring, building on our existing Steps Ahead Mentoring programme, which matches CIPD members with jobseekers to help them with their CVs, create or update their online profiles, succeed at interviews and boost their confidence. They will also be able to meet employers at a live networking event taking place in March 2020 and if successful at finding work, they will be offered coaching to help them transition back into work.

Both the mentoring and coaching will be provided by CIPD volunteers; People Professionals with the right skills and experience to help parent returners in this way. We will be providing these volunteers with their own training so they are best placed to help these individuals.

And, to make sure we are tackling both sides in terms of the barriers that prevent parent returners from easily accessing suitable work, we will also be recruiting 25 private sector employers based in the region from retail, law, tech, telecoms and STEM industries to become Returner Champions. The Returner Champions will take part in a series of workshops, webinars and group support to help them make the case for flexible working, offering flexibility in roles, creating flexible jobs and advertising roles flexibly. The result will see employers increase the number of flexible opportunities they offer, which can make it easier for parents to balance childcare and their careers. The hope is that this will have a trickle-down effect on other employers and lead to an increase in the number of jobs offering flexible working in the region.

As well as being funded by the Government Equalities Office the delivery of the CIPD Parent Returner programme is supported by Timewise, Pregnant then Screwed, GPS Return and Humber Learning Consortium.

For more information, contact Noshina Kiani, Programme Manager for the Parent Returner Programme,