Anne Milton, Minister of State for Apprenticeships, Skills and Women

New initiatives to help people return to work after career breaks have been launched today by the Minister of State for Apprenticeships, Skills and Women Anne Milton.

The returner programmes – part of the £5 million fund announced in this year’s Budget – are formal schemes offered by employers to provide training and support to people who have taken time out of the workplace. The Government Equalities Office will be establishing four new returner schemes across the public sector.

They will be open to women and men, with the aim of giving people who have taken career breaks the opportunity to refresh their skills and build professional networks.

According to research by PwC, addressing the career break penalty could provide a £1.7 billion boost to our annual economic output. For female professionals, that could increase the annual earnings of that group by an average of £4,000 per woman.

Later this year, returners will be able to apply to programmes for social workers, allied health professionals, and civil servants.

It is part of the government’s work to support parents and carers returning to work, build home-grown skills, and close the gender pay gap.

Anne milton100x100Minister of State for Apprenticeships, Skills and Women Anne Milton said:

We want to help people who are looking to get into work, which is why we are going to do more to help people get back into work after a career break.

Millions of us need to take time out from our careers, but it can be really hard to return. This is bad for the people affected, and the businesses who miss out on their talents. Women in particular find the routes back into employment closed off after taking time out to start a family.

These returner programmes will make it routine for women to go back to the workplace and get on with their careers. It ultimately should also help us to tackle the gender pay gap. I think it’s important that the public sector leads by example and introduces programmes to support people returning to the workplace.

Working alongside the Local Government Association, Health Education England and Civil Service HR, the Government Equalities Office will look to establish returner programmes for:

  • Civil servants: Civil Service HR will launch an initial returner programme for 50 returners across the UK this October. Returners will be offered paid placements between six weeks to six months, which will include a bespoke learning and development opportunities.

  • Social workers: The Local Government Association (LGA) will build on the success of its Come Back to Social Work pilot and this November will partner with three regions across England to offer placements to 100 social work returners. The placements will include tailored training and development to prepare them to return to practice.

  • Allied health professionals: The Department for Health will build on the existing nurses scheme and run a returner programme with Health Education England for 300 allied health professional returners across England, including physiotherapists, podiatrists, dietitians, and radiographers. The placements will include education, re-training and tailored support with the aim of returners ready to practice within six to 12 months.

  • Teachers: GEO will also work with the Department for Education to explore a returner programme for teachers.

The government will also be working with business groups to identify how to boost further the opportunities for women returning to work.

The career returner programmes also form part of the government’s work to tackle the gender pay gap, which is at a record low of 18.1%. By next April, the government is requiring all employers with 250 or more staff to report their gender pay gap and bonus gap.

Statistics show that the gender pay gap for women in their twenties is less than 7 per cent, but widens to 25% for women in their forties. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has found that women who take time out of work earn less when they return, receiving around 2 per cent less for every year spent out of paid work.

The new programmes will help develop best practice on what works to support career returners back to work most effectively. The Government Equalities Office has also launched a public call for evidence to allow individuals and employers to contribute to its understanding of how best to support people returning to work, particularly within the private sector. The call for evidence will run for eight weeks, concluding on 29 October. It will be an opportunity for returners, employers and the wider public to inform the government’s future plans on returners.

Minister of State for Health Philip Dunne said:

Former allied health professionals have the talent and experience the NHS needs so we absolutely want to encourage them to return to work.

A new programme run by Health Education England will offer returners tailored education and re-training, so they feel confident and supported to return to providing outstanding patient care.

Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, Director of Nursing and Deputy Director Education and Quality at Health Education England said:

Health Education England is extremely pleased to be able support AHPs back into our NHS as we know they contribute expert skills across the whole health and care system. Clinicians of all backgrounds returning to practice have a vital role to play in our NHS, as they tend to be more experienced and highly skilled.

In our work with AHPs, HEE will seek to build on our successful “Come Back to Nursing” campaign focused on nurses who have left the nursing profession but would come back if the right training and support was available. Over 2445 nurses have successfully completed a returner programme ready for employment on the front line to provide care and support for patients.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter yesterday

RT @FENews: NGWLive: Network Rail: NGWLive: Network Rail
View Original Tweet

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter yesterday

City of London Corporation provides Square Mile schoolchildren with food vouchers during half term break:…
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page