Home Appointments & Contracts Women Returners champions the growth of returner programmes in the North of...

Women Returners champions the growth of returner programmes in the North of England

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Women Returners, the return to work specialists, has opened a Leeds office to tackle the wasted talent pool of professionals in the North who have taken an extended career break for childcare or other reasons.

The Leeds office, led by Jude Harvey, will focus on growing ‘returnships’ and other supported routes back to work for returners in the region. They also aim to expand their free-of-charge Women Returners Professional Network to support local women
to get back to suitable-level roles. Women Returners has pioneered returnships – higher-level paid professional internships – in the UK since 2014, to tackle the career break penalty. Returnships provide a re-entry route for highly-qualified women, and men, who want to return to corporate life and find their way blocked by a gap on their CV. Employers benefit from employing highly skilled individuals who bring sought-after experience. As the majority of returners are women, returner programmes also help employers to increase gender diversity. The win-win structure of a returnship (with a 3 to 6 month ‘try before you buy’ period for both sides) has resulted in rapid growth – Women Returners has now partnered with over 80 leading private and public sector employers in the UK, including Amazon Web Services, Bank of England, Enfield Council, EY, Fidelity International, Heathrow, Home Office, Ofcom, O2, Skanska and Sky.

To date, most UK returner programmes have focused on London and the South East, or in Edinburgh and Glasgow. This high-calibre talent pool remains relatively untapped in the north of England. Demand in the region is growing and Women Returners has ambitious plans to meet this demand and accelerate growth. Women Returners is building on existing successes in the region. In 2019, they ran the first cross-company return to law programme in Leeds and Manchester. They also work with organisations such as Balfour Beatty and Mott Macdonald on cross-UK programmes which have brought a number of returner opportunities into the North. The Leeds operation will focus on growing programmes centred on the northern hubs of Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Leicester, York, Newcastle, Sheffield and Bradford.

Women Returners partners with employers to design, promote and support returner programmes. For employers interested in learning more, a Free Employer Webinar will be hosted on 17 March, 9.30-10.30am explaining more about the business
benefits and how they can recruit from this hard-to-reach talent pool. Employers can register here: xxx. They can also contact Jude Harvey, Client Director – North on xxx


Women Returners provides free support, information and advice to returners through their 5,500 strong Women Returners Professional Network. Returning professional women can join the free-of-charge Network to gain access to a largescale support system, get advice on successful re-entry into the workforce, learn from returner role model case studies and access a wide variety of return to work opportunities. Returners can sign up here: xxx. A Free Returner Webinar will be hosted on 25 February, 11.00-12.00pm discussing returnships, strategic volunteering, networking and a variety of non-standard job-hunting techniques which career returners have used successfully to get back into work. Returners can register here: xxx.

Julianne Miles, MBE, CEO and Co-Founder of Women Returners, commented:
“As I grew up in Liverpool and went to university in Manchester, I am thrilled to be focusing in 2020 on expanding into the north and providing the same opportunities and support for returners and employers as we offer in London and Edinburgh. The
business case for getting professionals back into suitable-level roles is evident and proven. They are a highly skilled and experienced group, providing a wealth of knowledge and a fresh perspective to an organisation.”

Jude Harvey, Client Director – North, at Women Returners commented:
“I’m excited to be working at Women Returners and leading their expansion plans in the North. We have many strong businesses here, especially within the thriving cities of Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Leicester, York, Newcastle, Sheffield and Bradford.
Living and working here, I’ve also met some incredibly talented individuals who would love to return to work after an extended career break. I’m looking forward to bringing the two together.”

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