CIPD pilots return-to-work programme to support parents in Yorkshire and the Humber

Peter Cheese

The Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) has announced that it will pilot a new return-to-work programme to support parents living in Yorkshire and the Humber who wish to re-enter the workplace.

The CIPD Parent Returner Programme, funded by the Government Equalities Office (GEO), has been designed to support parents who are not in work because of family commitments, but otherwise would prefer to re-join the workforce. Currently, 436,000 parents in the UK are in this situation.

The pilot programme will work with 25 employers in Yorkshire and the Humber, providing training through workshops and webinars to help them improve internal recruitment policies and practices, targeted at returning parents. This will include ensuring that recruitment policies are inclusive and reviewing flexible working arrangements.

The scheme will further offer free mentoring to 150 parents living in the region who have been out of the workforce for a year or more; they will receive tailored support via the CIPD’s Steps Ahead mentoring programme, which lasts between six and 12 weeks. This aims to help parents secure a job at the same level, or higher than their previous position.

Steps Ahead uses mentors who are HR professionals within the CIPD’s membership network. They will help individuals build a CV and create or update an online profile, as well as offering interview tips and working on building confidence. Once in work, the mentors will take on a coaching role to further support parents’ transition back into the workplace.

Mentors will begin working with local parents in September 2019.

Parents participating in the pilot programme will also be able to attend a Pregnant then Screwed Live event in March 2020, which will offer returning parents the chance to network with employers and peers as well as attend talks and workshops.

The CIPD Parent Returner Programme is supported by Timewise, Pregnant then Screwed, GPS Return and Humber Learning Consortium.

Peter Cheese (pictured), chief executive officer at the CIPD, said: “The problem of getting more returners back into work is twofold. 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.

“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.”

Penny Mordaunt, minister for women and equalities, added: “It is completely unacceptable that the careers of talented parents are held back because they take time out of their jobs to care for a loved one.

“Businesses cannot afford to overlook the potential of these talented people. That’s why we are investing in returners to work, giving them the opportunity to refresh and grow their skills. By acting on this issue we can grow the economy and achieve true equality in our workplaces.”