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20 March 2019
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Fund supports returners at all skill levels © iStock

8 March 2018 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal


Minister for Women and Equalities Amber Rudd has announced a £1.5 million fund to support people back into work after time out caring.


The fund, launched on Monday, will offer grants to projects that help people to return to work in the private sector.


These projects could help returners update their skills, provide other training, or support businesses to increase employment opportunities for returners.


The fund will prioritise projects that focus on small and medium-sized enterprises, employers outside London, and projects that support returners at all skill levels. This is part of the government’s wider strategy to develop the evidence base on what may help to close the gender pay gap.


Rudd said: “It is truly striking that nearly 90 per cent of people out of paid work because they are caring for the home or family are women.


“Too often people struggle to get back into paid work after taking time out to care for others. That is a huge loss not only to those individuals, but to our economy and to businesses all over the country.”


She added: “By offering meaningful work that pays, the fund will give people who want to return to employment the opportunity to use their valuable skills, talents and experience.”


A toolkit and guidance have been created to support companies that would like to employ returners. The guidance, developed by Timewise and Women Returners, is aimed at employers across sectors and of all sizes and “contains best practices and clear advice on supporting returners”. The toolkit, sponsored by Vodafone, explains the business benefits of employing returners.


The guidance, toolkit and fund are all part of a commitment of £5 million made by the prime minister in the 2017 Spring Budget, to help people back into employment after a career break. There are already public sector returner projects running in the health professions, social work, and the civil service.


In addition, a Cyber Security Skills impact fund, run by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, will be particularly looking for initiatives that help women who have been out of the labour market because of caring responsibilities to get jobs in cybersecurity.