To make the most of your techUK website experience, please login or register for your free account here.

Returners Hub

Returners programmes offer a supported bridge back to work for people who have taken a career break. Providing ways for people to ease back into work after a career break is a vital way to make sure we do not lose out on their talent and experience. The techUK returners hub was created as a one-stop-shop for people looking to return to a career in digital. The hub signposts to companies open to applications, free resources and training providers.


Why returners programmes are good for business

In a fast-changing and innovative sector like tech, where new technologies are transforming work practices every day, the prospect of returning to work can be daunting. Returners programmes shift workplace perceptions surrounding people's right to return to work and challenge the unconscious stigma around career breaks.


techUK members dedicated returner programmes

This page features dedicated tech returners programme from techUK's member companies. Formal schemes in the rapidly changing tech sector are designed to support individuals as they transition back into the workplace after a career break, providing the training needed to update technical skills and business awareness, and sometimes offering additional benefits.

digital devices.jpg

Free resources for returners

techUK signposts to a range of free courses, mentorship opportunities, and re-skilling initiatives for those looking to re-enter the tech sector. These organisations are dedicated to providing free opportunities to returners after a career break.


Training providers

This section is for tech companies who are ready to embark on a returners journeys. These dedicated organisations will help you create a bespoke returners programme for your organisation, and get you on the right track to attract, retrain and progress the best talent.


techUK Returners Hub mentioned by former Minister for Women & Equalities

Former Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Minister for Women & Equalities, Baroness Nicky Morgan of Cotes, talks about how returners programmes must be a part of a plan to protect women from being disadvantaged by a post-pandemic recession.

Read the article


Toolkit for returners: helping you back to work

Advice from the Government Equalities Office. Whether you’re just starting to think about getting back into work, or you’re part-way through the journey back and looking for some extra advice and support, this Toolkit can help. It’s been designed as a roadmap that takes you through every stage of the return-to-work process, with a wide range of information, ideas and actions.


Women’s Business Council: a toolkit for employers

The toolkit is based on best practice guidance developed by Timewise and Women Returners for the Government Equalities Office and is designed for businesses wishing to develop returner programmes of their own. This toolkit sets out the characteristics of a successful programme, clear guidelines on how to attract and recruit candidates, how to support returners, and case studies.


Looking at returner programmes with Corndel

Management and technology training provider Corndel shares information about returner programmes. In Corndel’s experience, best-practice returner programmes, which benefit both businesses and returners. adopt a delivery model that is structured, scaffolded, tailored and coaching-led to support returners back into work.

10 Steps to Become a Returner Inclusive Employer from Career Returners

  1. Learn about Returners: Listen to returner stories on Career Returners Podcast. Challenge your stereotypes.
  2. Remove Screening Bias: Check that your automated or manual application process is NOT screening out candidates just because of their CV gap (2021 Harvard Business School research in UK/USA/Germany found 43-48% of ATS systems filter out gaps over 6 months).
  3. Reduce Advertising Bias: Make sure your job adverts are only asking for ‘current/up-to-date knowledge’ or ‘recent experience’ if this is essential.
  4. Reduce Interview Bias: For competency-based interviews, adapt your questions to not ask for ‘recent work examples’. Focus technical interviews on skills rather than knowledge.
  5. Promote Returners as a Strong Candidate Pool: Put career returners on the radar for your recruiters and business leaders as a high-calibre and diverse talent pool. Educate on the full business case and ESG case for hiring returners.
  6. Support Returner Hires: Provide transition support for returner hires, such as training, mentoring and (if you have the budget) Career Returners Coaching to help them to rebuild confidence and more rapidly re-integrate.
  7. Provide Returner Training to Line Managers: Educate on hiring and supporting candidates returning from career breaks.
  8. Target Returner Applicants: Consider adding to job adverts ‘We welcome applications from candidates who have taken a career break’.
  9. [If larger] Run a Cohort Returner Programme: Use a proven framework to accelerate returner hiring and create a peer support network.
  10. Champion Returner Successes. Continue to break the bias using your real-life examples of successful returner hires.

If you’d like expert advice and support on returner inclusion – or returner programme design, promotion and coaching/training support – get in touch with Career Returners at: [email protected].

The value of returners programmes cannot be understated. They offer access to a largely untapped pool of talent that conventional recruitment methods often miss. We all benefit when we offer alternative routes and pathways for people who are looking to get back into the workforce, and break down the barriers to returning to fulfilling tech careers. It's great to see so many techUK members leading this.

Antony Walker, Deputy CEO


techUK newsletter

Sign-up to receive our newsletters covering news, events, training and engagement opportunities across all our programmes exploring tech markets, policy and innovation.

Sign-up here

Nimmi Patel

Nimmi Patel

Head of Skills, Talent and Diversity, techUK

Nimmi Patel is the Head of Skills, Talent and Diversity at techUK.

She works on all things skills, education, and future of work policy, focusing on upskilling and retraining. Nimmi is also an Advisory Board member of Digital Futures at Work Research Centre (digit). The Centre research aims to increase understanding of how digital technologies are changing work and the implications for employers, workers, job seekers and governments.

Prior to joining the team, she worked for the UK Labour Party and New Zealand Labour Party, and holds an MA in Strategic Communications at King’s College London and BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Manchester.

[email protected]

Read lessmore

Sheila Flavell CBE

Sheila Flavell CBE

techUK President, Chief Operating Officer, FDM Group

Sheila is the President of techUK and Chief Operating Officer and Executive Board Director of FDM Group. She has over 30 years’ experience in both the public and private IT sectors. Sheila played an integral role in the Group’s flotation on AIM in 2005 and was a key instigator of the management buy-out of the Group in 2010 and its subsequent listing onto the main FTSE Market in June 2014 and more recent entry into the FTSE 250.

Sheila’s experience and knowledge of the sector has been crucial in driving the Group’s global expansion programme. She is fully committed to promoting all forms of diversity, especially women in Tech and spearheads FDM’s Women in IT campaign and FDM’s ‘Getting Back to Business‘ programme, aimed at providing opportunities for women looking to return to the workplace. She is frequently called to advise government committees on various issues. Most recently she gave evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee on bridging the digital skills gap.

She has won numerous awards over many years for her services to the Tech industry, including a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ by ‘Scottish Women In Tech’ and was most recently recognised in the 2020 New Year’s Honours List, by being awarded ‘Commander of the Order of The British Empire’ for services to ‘Gender Equality in IT and Graduate and Returners Employment.’ She is regularly listed as one of the Most Influential Woman in Tech in the UK, by Computer Weekly and has also been regularly named as one of the Most Influential Women in the North American Mid Market’ by CEO Connection.

Sheila is a keen helicopter pilot who also likes to plant trees, play golf/ski and cycle.

If you wish to contact a member of the Board, please do so via [email protected].

Read lessmore