Help for mums to return to work

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Mums in North Somerset can access free support to get back to work after a career break or to help kickstart their career thanks to a bespoke training programme from The Women’s Work Lab.

There are up to 30 free places available to mums who are not currently working and have not been actively seeking work for at least 2 weeks. Mums do not need to be in receipt of benefits and can be of any age. 

Following its success in 2022, North Somerset Council is supporting this programme again thanks to dedicated funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.  

The programme will run twice in North Somerset – the first in Weston-super-Mare from April 2024, with a second North Somerset programme starting in September 2024. 

This will involve part-time classroom-based training and work placements - all during school hours. Individual strengths, values, and personalities will be considered throughout the process to ensure participants get the most out of the support. 

Mums can expect:  

• Bespoke 121 career coaching  

• Sessions with external partners such as Google & Smart Works  

• Practical career support – CV writing/interview technique/job searching  

• A work placement with a respected local employer.  

The Women’s Work Lab aims to support participants into employment or further training within six months of completing their training, with their full cohort all gaining vital job skills and confidence. 

Women's Work Lab graduate, Julia from Weston-super-Mare is now working in financial services after five years out of work: "When returning to work after a period out of paid employment, I wanted to explore the possibilities of a different role than I had been used to. The problem was that I had lost so much confidence and found it really difficult to imagine why any firm would want to employ me. 

"Women’s Work Lab helped me to understand my key values and tie together previous experiences in work and home life that were relevant to the new direction I wanted to take. The confidence that this gave me enabled me to gain employment straight after finishing the course. I am so grateful to the wonderful team at WWL for inspiring me to take the “next right step” for myself and my family. I get so much fulfilment from being back at work in a whole new environment that I’m just a happier, more confident and productive person all round. These Ladies are magic!" 

Apply today 

Mums interested in signing up to either programme should visit I'm a mum — The Women's Work Lab (womensworklab.co.uk) and fill in the application form. If successful, this will be followed by an informal telephone interview.  

The Women’s Work Lab would also like to hear from North Somerset businesses interested in hosting a mum on placement. This would involve providing experience of an entry-level role for 15 hours a week, usually Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 9.30-2.30pm. Often employers offer rotating placements so mums can find out about different career opportunities within their organisation.  

Contact programme manager Fern for more information about either process: fern@womensworklab.co.uk 

Cllr Catherine Gibbons, Deputy Leader of North Somerset Council and Executive Member for Children’s Services, Families, and Lifelong Learning said: “I am proud to have been involved in bringing this brilliant programme to North Somerset because getting back into work after an extended absence can be much more difficult than people might expect.  

“I am delighted that this funding has been secured as 68% of Women’s Work Lab’s 2022 graduates are now back in work. Itt’s clear that providing these resources can impact our local communities and region in a positive way. Outcomes for participants so far have included new careers and finding a vital support network with other likeminded mums. I urge you to sign up today!” 

Councillor Mark Canniford, North Somerset Council’s Executive Member for Placemaking and Economy, said: “I’m delighted North Somerset Council are once again supporting the Women’s Work Lab thanks to UKSPF funding. Please do consider registering as a business to provide invaluable work experience opportunities; this initiative helps ensure our communities are well equipped to thrive in the future.” 

In North Somerset, over 40 mums have now graduated from the course. The first Weston scheme was featured in BBC One’s ‘We Are England’ programme. Watch on BBC iPlayer: www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m001fjwb/we-are-england-family-westonsupermums

For more information about the UKSPF programme in North Somerset, visit innorthsomerset.co.uk/ukspf.