Women Returners Programme

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

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What the programme is

The Women Returners Programme is a free support and training service. It was set up in 2021 to help women restart their careers following a period of absence.

Support provided is specific to your needs and can be made up of a range of services, including:

  • mentoring
  • peer support
  • networking
  • IT skills
  • CV building
  • a paid work placement with an employer

Funding provided by the Scottish Government will help up to 1,500 women return to the workplace.

Who this funding is for

This service is free to women aged 25 or over. It is also only available to people living in Scotland.

To qualify, 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.

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 Women Returners Programme services until March 2023 by contacting the relevant provider. This can be done in different ways:

  • the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and our careers service can guide you to relevant opportunities
  • a contracted learning provider can complete an application for an opportunity on your behalf

Who the providers are

There are 11 learning providers associated with the Women Returners Programme.

Here, you’ll find a little bit of information about each and how to contact them when you’re ready.

Adopt an Intern (AAI Employability)

Online | Scotland-wide

Adopt an Intern aims to help minority ethnic women back into employment. Through a series of interactive workshops and tailored masterclasses, participants will receive advice on:

  • writing CVs and cover letters
  • personal branding
  • confidence
  • resilience
  • identifying skills and strengths

The course is expected to last up to 5 months, beginning in June. Participants will receive one-to-one support meetings as required and requested to help you work towards your goals.

To find out more, visit aai-employability.org.uk. You can also contact Joy Lewis via joy@aai-employability.org.uk or by calling 07803 714655.

Code Division

Online learning | Scotland-wide

Code Division’s SQA-accredited course will focus on helping women learn advanced Microsoft 365 and interpersonal skills, including:

  • Excel
  • Power BI
  • SharePoint
  • communication
  • collaborating
  • critical thinking
  • creativity

This course is suitable for women who have basic digital skills and would like to gain confidence in using sought-after technology skills. 

Coursework will be taught via interactive workshops, videos and mini projects. These will be delivered online on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays for 7 weeks.

During this time, participants will also benefit from workshops with a specialist skills training consultant and receive 1-2-1 mentoring. These will both be delivered on most Thursdays.

To find out more, visit codedivision.co.uk. You can also contact Grace McNair via gracemcnair@codedivision.co.uk or by calling 0141 221 7770.

East Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce

Online and in-person | East Renfrewshire and surrounding local authorities

East Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce is providing training to help women who have had an extended absence from work because of care responsibilities.

Through weekly, in-person workshops, participants will receive training to help them attain the skills to get back into work, including:

  • 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 course is expected to last 8 weeks. As well as workshops, participants will also have an opportunity to meet with local employers at the ‘Employers Day’ event.

To find out more, visit eastrenchamber.org.uk. You can also contact Vicky Mustard via vicky@eastrenchamber.org.uk or by calling 0141 225 0465.

ENABLE Scotland

Online learning | Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Edinburgh and Perth and Kinross

ENABLE actively supports people to live independently and contribute to their local communities. Through high-quality and engaging group meetings, participants will be supported as they prepare to return to work. These sessions will cover a range of skills, including:

  • confidence building
  • reflection
  • the importance of online presence
  • Scottish labour market
  • understanding flexible working
  • your rights at work
  • online job searching
  • CV and interview preparation

Following an initial one-to-one discussion with an adviser, participants will be assigned to groups. These groups will meet remotely for 2 to 3 hours one day per week. The course is expected to last for 8 weeks.

To find out more, visit enable.org.uk. You can also contact Fiona Thomson via or by calling 07552 277402.

Making Work Work (Challenges Worldwide)

Online learning | Scotland-wide

Challenges Worldwide’s Making Work Work programme supports women with management experience or aspirations. While you do not need to be returning to a managerial role, as a participant you can improve your understanding of management principals and leadership.

Support is delivered via 10 interactive group training sessions and 8 to 10 hours of one-to-one mentoring. These sessions are designed to build your networks and confidence in the following areas:

  • peer-led management and leadership skills
  • hybrid and remote working styles
  • personal development
  • goal setting
  • employability skills

In addition, all participants will be invited to networking events and workshops held by external partners such as Volunteering Matters, Changing the Chemistry and Firstport.

If you take part, you'll also benefit from access to self-study resources on around 150 other topics, provided by Accenture Skills Exchange.

The course will last 5 to 6 weeks in total.

To find out more, visit makingworkwork.co.uk. You can also contact Lynn Houmdi via lynn.houmdi@thechallengesgroup.com or by calling 07726 635612.

Right Options

Online learning | Scotland-wide

For women returning to work, Right Options offer tailored services to help you feel confident about this change. These include:

  • writing CVs and cover letters
  • interview skills
  • wellbeing
  • volunteering services
  • digital upskilling
  • financial education
  • virtual reality workplace tours

The course content will be tailored to your specific needs and interests. This means that you could be learning for between 8 to 16 weeks depending on your requirements.

To find out more, visit rightoptions.org. You can also contact Chris Sutherland via chris@rightoptions.co.uk or by calling 07738 367165.

The People Portfolio

Online learning | Scotland-wide

The People Portfolio support women ages 50 or over who’re experiencing menopause symptoms.

Support is delivered between workshops and one-to-one coaching, including:

  • 5 confidential one-to-one mental fitness coaching sessions with a psychotherapist
  • a 3-hour workshop on managing the menopause delivered by Angela Garton, a Menopause Specialist
  • three 45-minute learning plan reviews

There will also be 4 employability group sessions covering:

  • confidence building
  • CV development
  • interview skills
  • job searching
  • effective use of LinkedIn

The course will last 12 weeks from launch to completion.

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


Online and in-person learning | Greater Glasgow

Tigers’ Women Returners support aims to help women improve, refresh or build their digital skills from scratch. From using a computer and making spreadsheets to learning about the digital market — Tigers’ tailored approach will help you move forward.

You’ll attend the course on a Monday and Tuesday from 9:30am to 1pm at our Springburn training centre. An online option is also available.

The course lasts for 8 weeks and operates on a “roll on, roll off” basis to accommodate your other personal commitments.

To find out more, visit tigersgroup.co.uk. You can also contact Oliver Butler via office@tigersltd.co.uk or by calling 0141 771 5200.

Triage Central Limited

Online | Scotland-wide

From essential employability to personal development, Triage Central Limited’s tailored support ensures returning to work is achievable and accessible to all women. Support includes:

  • confidence building
  • coping with anxiety
  • developing resilience
  • digital skills
  • money management
  • help with application forms
  • interview techniques and simulation

To help fit learning around your other commitments, support is delivered flexibly between Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

As support is tailored to meet your individual needs, the course length will vary from person to person. Therefore, the Personal Learning Plan can last up to 3 months.

To find out more, visit triagecentral.co.uk. You can also contact Sharon Hewetson via sharonh@triagecentral.co.uk, or by calling 01786 451513. Similarly, you can also contact Pauline Thomson via paulinet@triagecentral.co.uk.

Virtual Internships Partners

Online | Scotland-wide

Virtual Internships’ Women Returners Programme is aimed at helping all women over 25 who have been unemployed for 6 months or more.

The online programme provides access to vital tools, skills and career advice to help women get back into the workplace. These include:

  • employability coaching and support
  • global career-management planning to help with next steps
  • project-based learning and work experience
  • a network of like-minded people

The course is expected to last 5 weeks and there are multiple start dates throughout 2022. Participants can choose:

  • the online course option, and would have to commit to being online for all live events
  • the offline course option where recordings of all sessions will be shared with those who might struggle to attend the live sessions

To find out more, visit virtualinternships.com. You can also contact Eduard Sava via eduard@virtualinternships.com or by calling 07444 451906.


Women Returners (Career Boost Scotland Programme)

Online learning | Scotland-wide

If you’re a professional woman returning to work after break, the Career Boost Scotland Programme by Women Returners can help you feel ready. This includes older workers and those who've had longer career breaks.

You’ll benefit from a network of other women returners as you gather the tools you’ll need to apply for the role you want to return with. You’ll also be supported through one-to-one mentoring support and advice from a professional who can help you build confidence and secure a new role. 

The programme is delivered across interactive coaching and skills training modules:

Coaching modules
  • Build your professional confidence
  • Develop an optimal return to work mindset
  • Clarify your career direction
  • Identify your key strengths
Skills training modules
  • Understand how to write a compelling CV
  • Learn how to create (or refresh) your LinkedIn profile following a career break
  • Develop interview skills and know how to prepare for an interview
  • Develop networking skills
  • Create an action plan for your return to work
  • Learn about flexible working —the current trends and information you need to know

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