The Women Returners Programme

Are you a woman aged 25 or over? Have you been out of work for over 6 months? If so, the Women Returners Programme could help you restart your career journey.

What the Women Returners Programme is

The Women Returners Programme is a free service that can provide you with support to help you return to work.
Funding provided by the Scottish Government will help up to 1,500 women between October 2021 and March 2022.

Who this funding is for

The Women Returners Programme has been set up to help you restart your career following a period of absence. It’s free for women aged 25 or over. It is only available to people living in Scotland.

You must have worked before your career break and have been out of work for 6 months or longer. You may have been out of work due to childcare, health or caring commitments. The programme will support your journey back to work.

How it works

You’ll receive an initial assessment to identify your skills, experience and any barriers to your employment. Support provided is specific to your needs and can made up of a range of services, including:

  • the creation of a learning plan
  • mentoring
  • peer support
  • networking
  • IT skills
  • CV building
  • a paid work placement with an employer

Benefits of accessing the programme

  1. Learn

    You’ll get support to brush up on your existing skills through a free one-to-one service.

  2. Grow

    Boost your confidence through mentoring and peer support.

  3. Work

    Demonstrate your skills to an employer through paid work experience opportunities.

  4. Connect

    Work alongside other people and expand your network.

  5. Reach

    Access a range of support to maximise your chances of re-entering the workplace.

How to access the programme

You can access services through the programme from mid-October 2021 until March 2022.
This can be done in different ways.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and SDS careers service can signpost you

Or, a contracted learning provider can complete the application on your behalf.

Who the providers are

There are 12 learning providers associated with the Women Returners Programme. Here you’ll find a little bit of information about them. 

We’ve provided key contact details for each provider when you’re ready.

Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre

Online learning

This programme offers a structured pathway with individual coaching to monitor your progress and plan your next steps.

It includes training in:

  • resilience
  • finding opportunities
  • personal branding
  • making connections
  • motivation

Through the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre, you’ll meet people already working in aquaculture and learn more about opportunities within the sector.

To find out more, visit sustainableaquaculture.com. You can also contact Mary Fraser through  wisa@sustainableaquaculture.com or by calling 01786 278318.

The People Portfolio

Online learning

Return with Resilience supports women over 50 and/or experiencing menopause in returning to professional or financial services careers.

Through online workshops, the support on offer includes:

  • one-to-one mental fitness coaching
  • specialist menopause support
  • confidence building
  • CV building
  • interview and job search skills
  • how to manage menopause at work

There’s also the opportunity to be introduced to relevant employers.

To find out more, visit thepeopleportfolio.co.uk. You can also contact Morna Ronnie via email at morna@thepeopleportfolio.co.uk or by calling 07377 969172.

East Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce

Online and in person learning | East Renfrewshire

East Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce’s programme is designed to fully support women returning to work after a career break.

The programme contains modules in:

  • team building
  • work choices
  • self-awareness
  • courtesy and effective communication skills
  • personal motivation and goal setting
  • influencing
  • negotiation skills and perseverance
  • resilience and change
  • CVs and interview preparation

The programme will provide an opportunity to meet with local employers at the Employers Day event.

To find our more, visit eastchamber.org.uk. You can also contact Vicky Mustard via email at info@eastrenchamber.org.uk or by calling 0141 255 0465.

Tigers

Online and in person learning | Glasgow

Tigers help women tackle the barriers they face in accessing employment and aim to develop the digital skills of participants.

With a focus on on-the-job experience and paid work placements, participants will aim for sustained employment upon completion.

To find out more, visit tigersgroup.co.uk. You can also contact Oliver Butler via email at oliverbutler@tigers.ltd.co.uk or by calling 0141 771 5200.

Code Division

Online learning

Code Division aims to deliver taught courses online in skills desirable to many employers. Supported by tutors, industry experts and well-being specialists, programme participants can gain an SQA PDA in Data Science.


As well as a bespoke data and business course, the programme will deliver:

  • tutoring in Advanced Excel and other industry applications
  • employability skills training
  • one-to-one support
  • supporting resources for each class

To find out more, visit codedivision.co.uk. You can also contact Frank Duffy via email at frankduffy@codedivision.co.uk or by calling 07775 444151.

Right Options

Online and in person learning | Glasgow and Dumfries & Galloway

Right Options provide training in areas of employer interest that will help many women return to the workplace after a career break.

Services are tailored to the needs of the participant and include:

  • interview skills
  • CV and cover letters
  • job searching in a digital world
  • work shadowing
  • emotional job-readiness
  • wellbeing, mentoring and coaching
  • volunteering
  • digital, financial and virtual reality upskilling

Workshops are also delivered in:

  • confidence and motivation
  • working as a team
  • workplace etiquette

To find out more, visit rightoptions.godaddysites.com. You can also contact Chris Sutherland via email at admin@rightoptions.co.uk or by calling 07738 671165.

Virtual Internships

Online learning

Rejoin the world of work through a focused career re-entry programme, designed specifically for women. Virtual Internships have opportunities across 18 in-demand sectors and access to over 4,000 employers globally.

This online programme has:

  • employability coaching and support to make the most of your experience
  • global career management plan to help with next steps
  • project-based learning and work experience
  • multiple start dates throughout 2021 and 2022

To find out more, visit virtualinternships.com. You can also contact Gemma Dunne via email at gemma@virtualinternships.com or by calling 01438 940967.

Triage Central Limited

Online and in person learning | Scotland-wide

Renew, Refresh, Return helps women improve their skills and prepare to return work following a career break. Delivered across Scotland by specialist advisers from Triage, the programme offers a wide range of tailored advice and support and is fully flexible.

To find out more, visit their website - www.triagecentral.co.uk. You can also contact Sharon Hewetson via email at sharonh@triagecentral.co.uk or by calling 01786 451513.

ENABLE Scotland

In person learning | Glasgow, Edinburgh, Lanarkshire and Perth & Kinross

The Reignite programme by ENABLE Work supports women looking to get back into employment in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Edinburgh and Perth and Kinross.

Through high-quality, engaging group meetings and 1-2-1 sessions with an experienced employment coordinator, participants will be supported at every stage of their return to work.


To find out more, visit, enableworks.org.uk. You can also contact Amanda Gwynne via email at amanda.gwynne@enable.org.uk or by calling 07889 456 232.

Career Boost Scotland (Women Returners)

Online learning

Through Career Boost Scotland, women can receive personalised coaching and training to support their return to work following a career break.

Through a series of individual meetings and small group workshops, participants will follow a Mentoring Programme that covers all aspects of returning to work. This includes the Financial Services Cross-Company Returner programme, complete with supported placement opportunities.

Employers can also receive returner-friendly recruitment training through the organisation.

To find out more, visit womenreturners.com. You can also contact Hazel Little via email at hazel@womenreturners.com or by calling 07815 430251.

Making Work Work (Challenges Worldwide)

Online learning

Challenges Worldwide’s Making Work Work for Women Returners programme aims to empower women to balance work with their other commitments and passions. It’s targeted at women with management experience, or managerial aspirations, and aims to unlock two of the critical job search factors: confidence and networking.

Through the programme, participants will have access to:

  • transferable skills refresher sessions
  • employability support
  • peer-led learning
  • mentoring

To find out more, visit the challengesgroup.com. You can also contact the Making Work Work team via email at womenreturners@thechallengesgroup.com or by calling 07534 042548.

AAI EmployAbility

Online learning

AAI’s Back-to-Work programme engages minority ethnic women facing barriers post career break. It aims to improve employment prospects through tailored support, including:

  • updating skills
  • increasing confidence
  • access to employers and paid placements

Candidates will engage with coaches and employers through facilitated, online workshops, 1-2-1 coaching and certified training resources.

To find out more, visit https://www.aai-employability.org.uk. You can also contact Joy Lewis via email at support@aai-employability.org.uk or by calling 0131 667 0340.