Support for women returning to work

Funding to help women back to work following career breaks.

Six projects across Scotland will receive a share of £185,000 aimed at supporting women into work following career breaks.

Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn today announced the successful recipients of Scottish Government Returners Fund grants at a visit in Edinburgh.

Mr Hepburn met returners, interns and staff from the Adopt an Intern programme at the premises of employer partners, Future X.

Adopt an Intern project have been awarded £55,000 to expand their work with Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) women returners, supporting personal and work based confidence and resilience.

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."


This work builds on a £50,000 project, being run by Equate Scotland between Feb 2017 to Jan 2018. This provides support for at least 40 women to re-enter the STEM sector.

Women Returners Ltd have been awarded £48,500 for the Returners to Financial Services Scotland Programme which will enable 40 experienced financial services professional women on career break to get back into skilled employment at a suitable level.



£ 48,500

North Lanarkshire Council’s ‘Positive Returns’ project will engage with 10 local Employers to offer “returnships” to women returners.  Through this 10 women returners will undertake pre-employment support before undertaking a three month placement with an employer. 



NC Resources Ltd have been awarded £13,000 to undertake one Women into Security course which will take place in Glasgow and Lanarkshire. This will involve recruiting women from all ethnic groups and seeks to inform women about the variety of jobs available within the sector, which is currently male dominated.



Stirling Council’s ‘Women into Work’ will address the gender pay gap for at least six women returners in the Stirling area by exploring flexible working practices to enable more equal caring responsibilities and balance caring and work, thereby aiming to prevent a pay penalty.



Adopt an Intern will host workshops to support 30 BME women examine strategies that support personal and work based confidence and resilience with access to three month internships with Diageo, Trossachs Distillery, Highland Spring and small manufacturing businesses.


Glasgow Clyde College will deliver the Women Into Child-minding to 15 Women Returners to the labour market from the Glasgow LEP area. They will receive training in working with Children with the aim to become a registered, self-employed Child-minder. The application will help meet the Scottish Government’s childcare and early years expansion plans as well as encouraging female entrepreneurship. 








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