What Is A Returner Programme
Posted: Monday March 7 2022
By: Abbie Coleman
Although still relatively new you may have heard of returner programmes, but do you know what they actually are?
What Is A Returner Programme
In short, a returner programme is meant to break down the barriers with re-entry back into the workplace for carers looking to return to the workforce after a career break offering the right support for them to do this in a supportive environment. Including mothers of young families and people who have been caring for others, including elderly care.
In my 20 years of experience in recruitment, I have often heard recruiters give feedback to working mums who are talented professionals with a wealth of previous experience looking to return to the workforce after having an extended break due to caring for children. This advice has often been downright insulting from telling these women to write about the new skills they had acquired while having children, including multi-tasking and organisation, I kid you not. And while I can feel your eye role, this is genuine advice given out by recruitment consultants believed to be good advice. These recruiters often gave this advice to returning mothers senior leaders with a wealth of skill sets and technical training, from specialists in financial services to FMCG. These women hadn’t lost these skills; having taken time out of the workplace, they hadn’t been wiped from memory. Some women may feel they need a catch up on skills to brush up in their field if things have moved quickly in the industry since they have been gone. Of which they are highly capable of doing. Or maybe they think due to the experience of trying to return to work, they felt apprehensive about the journey of barriers that lay in front of them including, and getting through the door was proving difficult with a career break. So returner programmes aimed to allow a work programme to provide qualified candidates with an intelligent, supportive environment to assist returners back into the world of work.
Over recent years, there has been a spotlight on the newly launched returner programmes run by businesses. Many of these are aimed at the 1.2 million estimated back in 2019. These returners have a wealth of experience looking to get back to their careers after having had time out of the workplace. This also covers working mums who have had time out caring for children and are looking to return to work full time or part-time. Post-Covid, we can only imagine this number of people with time out the workforce looking to replace has grown. Having run our MMB Returner Survey of working mothers returning to work we certainly saw the results supporting the need for returner support.
The government added 1.5 million to support 16 organisations in the private sector roll out returner programmes to help these carers and other rollouts in the public sector. How successful this was open for debate with its longevity after the funding ran out and can often be measured by the few returner programmes out there; interested to find out more on this, please find our article here on our thoughts.
Many of these returners are women returners; however, returner programmes are open to men and women.