New funding to help women back to work following career breaks
Six projects across Scotland are set to receive a share of £185,000 to help support women back into work following career breaks.
The beneficiaries of the new Scottish Government Returners Fund include Edinburgh-based Adopt an Intern, which has been awarded £55,000 to expand its work with Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) women returners and support personal and work-based confidence and resilience.
Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn met returners, interns and staff from the Adopt an Intern programme at the premises of employer partner Future X, where he announced the other recipients.
Returner Sheila Roussel, Owner of Sheila Roussel Jewellery Design, said: “Adopt an Intern really helped to build my confidence in my new career. Not only did the internships give me access to the practical side of these businesses, which was invaluable, but also gave me access to a network of industry professionals and customers that I would have found difficult to access without the positions.”
Mr Hepburn said: “Evidence suggests there are a number of barriers around women returning to work following an extended absence, with many experiencing a ‘motherhood penalty’ following maternity.
“This government has a commitment to identify and address the issues preventing women re-entering the workforce, particularly rebuilding skills, knowledge and confidence while enabling employers to gain from recruiting and retaining skilled, experienced staff.
“Scotland continues to outperform the UK in terms of female participation in the labour market, however I realise there is more to do to address some of the barriers to work that returners are encountering.
“I am pleased to visit Future X today to see the valuable work that Adopt an Intern are doing to support BME women into internships.”
Joy Lewis, CEO of Adopt an Intern, said: “We’re pleased to be allocated this additional funding to open up possibilities for BME women returners who prove that technology and terminology may change, but aptitude and attitude do not.
“Our thanks to Diageo, one of the companies who have agreed to take on a returner, and Radiant and Brighter who work with the BME community. With this funding we can now work towards closing the pay gap and overcoming the more unseen challenges that face women in the BME community in the workplace.”
The other recipients of the Fund are Women Returners Ltd, which has been awarded £48,500 for the Returners to Financial Services Scotland Programme to enable 40 experienced professionals get back into skilled employment at a suitable level; North Lanarkshire Council’s Positive Returns project, which will receive £19,300 to engage with local employers and provide pre-employment support, as well as three-month work placements for 10 women; NC Resources Ltd, which has been given £13k to provide a Women into Security course in Glasgow and Lanarkshire; Stirling Council’s Women into Work, which has been awarded £12k to explore flexible working options for at least six women returners in the Stirling area, and Glasgow Clyde College, which will use its grant of £37,200 to deliver its Women Into Childminding programme for 15 women.
This work builds on a £50,000 project being run by Equate Scotland from February 2017 to January 2018 to provide support for at least 40 women to re-enter the STEM sector.