Between June 2019 and September 2020, our Parent Returner Programme (funded by the Government Equalities Office) provided training and support to 24 employer ‘Returner Champions’ to help them make their organisations more inclusive for parent returners. We also offered parent returners one-to-one mentoring support to help build their confidence and work-readiness. The programme took place in Yorkshire and Humber and was supported by GPS ReturnHumber Learning ConsortiumPregnant then Screwed and Timewise.

The employers

We welcomed 24 Returner Champions, all senior HR professionals, from organisations based in Yorkshire and Humber onto the programme:


Kingstown Works Ltd

PX Limited

Sopra Banking



Reckitt Benckiser

Stanley Black and Decker



Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy

Victoria Plum

Infinity Works

NG Bailey


Wavin UK


Northern Gas Networks

Skipton Building Society

Westfield Health


Plexus Law

Smith & Nephew

Yorkshire Building Society

The results

The Returner Champions collectively effected 89 changes in their organisations over the duration of the programme – influencing areas such as policies, internal initiatives, information and communications. Read more about how and why some of our employers made positive changes:

'We already decided to make some big changes, having access to the right support, knowledge and resources through the CIPD was important.'

'We wanted to support a very important initiative which I personally and professionally feel very passionate about. And to drive change within our company to become a more diverse and inclusive employer.'

'We wanted to provide a more flexible approach to working in the business for both returning parents and employees as a whole.'

Read more about how and why some of our employers made positive changes in these case studies:

The parent returners

We recruited 100 parents to take part, who were offered up to 12 weeks of mentoring support from a CIPD member. The mentors crucially helped to build confidence, and offered practical advice on career choice, job search, CV writing and interview skills.

  • 96% of parent returners felt more confident
  • 92% felt they had improved their employability skills
  • 82% felt more confident about securing employment
  • 73% felt more ready for work

I was working full time and I was so career focused. And then five years away from that, it felt like everything had disappeared. I had no idea how to switch from being a full-time mum. Thanks to the mentoring I felt seen again.

Tatia - Parent Returner, Yorkshire

My role is to help remind people just how good they really are. It's about bringing out those skills and passions they have and refocusing them into something that they perhaps hadn't thought of before.

Johnathan - Parent Returner Mentor, Yorkshire

We continue to offer mentoring support to parent returners through our Steps Ahead mentoring programme.