The Government’s Equality Office has announced the second round of its £1.5 million fund to help people return to work in the private sector after taking time out for caring.
The Government Equalities Office defines a ‘returner’ as a person who left paid employment for at least a year to take on a caring responsibility and would like to return to paid work at a level commensurate with their skills and experience. The Returners Fund offers grants of up to £300,000, though most awards are likely to be between £50,000 and £150,000, for projects which 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.
All types of organisations in England that can demonstrate they can support returners are eligible. This includes voluntary and community sector organisations, local training providers, local enterprise partnerships (LEPs), academic institutions, local authorities and private sector organisations. It is anticipated that most of the grant recipients under the Returners Fund will be voluntary and community sector organisations, social enterprises and training providers.
Ideally, grant recipients will be organisations that can demonstrate experience of providing specialist support for returners, including:
Training and retraining.
Changing hiring and employment practices.
Flexible working and job design, and/or reducing the gender pay gap.
Organisations without this experience are still welcome to apply, but must be able to demonstrate that they can provide suitable support to returners and/or employers of returners.
The grant funding is only available for eligible projects which are delivered in England. There is particular interest in projects that focus on at least one of the following:
Returners to paid employment outside London (full or part-time).
Non-graduate returners and/or those returning to non-professional employment.
People with the following protected characteristics: BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic); Disabled; Older workers (aged 50+).
Returners who have been out of paid employment for 10 years or more.
Creating employment opportunities for returners in SMEs.
The deadline for expressions of interest for round two is 16 August 2018.
Full details can be found on the Returners Fund https://returnersfund.flexigrant.com/