The CIPD has secured funding from the Government Equalities Office to run a new pilot scheme that will help parents get back into work in Yorkshire and the Humber. The CIPD Parent Returner Programme will provide free mentoring to 150 parents in the region, whilst 25 employers will receive training to improve their ‘returner’ recruitment policies and practices.
There are 436,000 people in the UK who are not in work because of family commitments but would like to be. Once the pilot is completed, the CIPD aims to roll out the programme across the rest of the country. As well as providing personal fulfilment, improving the employment rate for ‘returners’ can help to plug skills shortages in a number of sectors and occupations. It can also help employers to increase the diversity of their workforce and talent pipeline.
‘Returners’ who’ve been away from work for a year or more will receive tailored support through the CIPD’s Steps Ahead mentoring programme, lasting between six and 12 weeks. The programme aims to help returners secure a job at the same level, or higher, than the previous one they held.
Steps Ahead mentors – who are HR professionals from the CIPD’s membership network – will use their expertise to help ‘returners’ build their CV, create or update their online profiles, succeed at interviews and boost their confidence. The ‘returners’ will then be supported by CIPD members in a coaching capacity once they’ve secured a job to ensure a smooth transition back into work.
The 25 employers will be helped to make their recruitment policies more inclusive through a series of workshops and webinars. These will focus on getting employers to review their flexible working arrangements, which can make it easier for parents to balance childcare and their careers.
The aim is for this initiative to have a trickle-down effect on other employers and lead to an increase in the number of jobs offering flexible working in the region.
Additionally, ‘returners’ will be able to network with potential employers, speak to other ‘returners’, and attend talks and workshops at a Pregnant then Screwed Live event in the region planned for March 2020. The programme will be supported by a number of delivery partners including Timewise, Pregnant then Screwed, GPS Return and Humber Learning Consortium.
“The problem of getting more ‘returners’ back into work is two-fold,” Peter Cheese, chief executive of CIPD. “On the one hand, returners 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.
“However, we also know that the lack of flexible working arrangements offered by employers can deter people from going back to work or make it practically impossible for them to do so,” adds Cheese. “Supporting employers and individuals alike is the most effective way to change the current situation. We’re excited to be launching this pilot in Yorkshire and the Humber, which we hope to go on and roll out nationally.”