Ludgate and Cork ETB collaborate to support career comebacks for women

Most women who take career breaks intend to return to the workforce when the time is right. However, when they are in a position to return to employment, they face real and perceived challenges that stop them from doing so. For too many women, taking time out from the workforce equates to signing out of their career. Ludgate and Cork ETB have collaborated to change this pattern.

Grainne O’Keeffe, Ludgate CEO, & Teresa O’Sullivan, Adult Education Officer at Cork ETB launching the programme

Ludgate, with the support of Cork ETB, is proud to announce the return of its successful Women’s Returnee Programme for 2023 – Launchpad. Designed specifically for women looking to re-enter the workforce after a career break, this comprehensive programme empowers and supports women in taking the next steps on their career journeys, be it employment, further study or starting their own business.

“Cork ETB are delighted to fund this new initiative supporting women to get back to work or education, helping them to take the next step on their career path. This partnership will build on our respective experience to ensure a motivational, engaging, supportive and meaningful experience for all participants,” says Teresa O’Sullivan, Adult Education Officer at CETB.

Launchpad 2023 addresses the unique challenges faced by women who have taken time off from their careers for family or personal reasons. It recognises the immense talent, experience and skills that these women possess, but also the challenges they face having been away from the workforce for some time such as digital skills gaps, self-confidence and access to the remote and local employment network.

“We understand that returning to work after a hiatus can be daunting for many women,” said Rose Minihane, Ludgate Education Innovation Manager. “Women can feel isolated and overwhelmed by the prospect of finding the right role. This programme tells them they are not alone in this position. Launchpad is designed to provide them with the confidence, skills, and knowledge they need to re-enter the workforce and thrive in their chosen fields.”

Launchpad is the second year Ludgate is running a Women Returnee programme. In 2022, fourteen women took part in the augural programme – ReIgnite. Ludgate was delighted with the success of the programme, which received positive feedback from the participants and the wider business community. Since completing the course, many of the women have returned to work, identified further training opportunities, or started their own business.

“We firmly believe that career breaks should not hinder a woman’s progress or potential,” said Grainne O’Keeffe, Ludgate CEO. “Launchpad training programme is a testament to Ludgate’s and Cork ETB’s commitment to ensuring this talented group of women have access to the skills, support, and network to relaunch their careers. Importantly, we also let the business community know of this untapped pool of talent and experience.”

The training programme incorporates a variety of workshops that cover essential topics such as: Digital Skills – Microsoft Office Suite & Google (Drive, Docs and Sheets)l CV building and Interview skills; Marketing techniques; Motivation and Goal-setting; Career planning and Communication; Personal branding and Social media; Networking and navigating the rural / remote jobs landscapes; Further training and start your own business taster.

To ensure participants get the best opportunities to re-enter their chosen career paths, the women are paired with a mentor who is a senior professional in their chosen field. This feature of the programme was highly beneficial to the 2022 women returnees and, for many, the mentoring support has continued after the programme ended.

“Having access to an established professional in their sector, some-one who can give them insights into how to access employment in their field, help them identify and fill their skills gaps, and give these women access to the business network was a significant advantage to the women,” said Grainne O’Keeffe. “The participants benefited hugely from their respective mentoring partnerships.”

Launchpad will be facilitated by a team of experienced workshop leads who specialise in career development and return-to-work programmes. Participants will also benefit from one-to-one coaching sessions, group discussions, interactive exercises that encourage skill-building and support networks among fellow participants.

One of the unique aspects of the 2022 programme was the friendships that formed among the women, who have now become each other’s advocates and support network. “Some of the women began enjoying a coffee together after the workshops,” said Rose Minihane. “We are still meeting for coffee every so often, even though ReIgnite ended months ago. It is wonderful to catch up and see how everyone is doing. And hear of all the progress and plans – it’s exciting!”.

The programme will run over 12 weeks from the end of September to mid-December, with a break to coincide with school half-term. Each workshop will be on Thursday morning from 10am-1pm.

Launchpad is now open for registration. Interested individuals can register through Ludgate’s Eventbrite. Link to Eventbrite

WCP Staff

WCP Staff Writer

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