Six/Seven projects across Scotland will receive a share of £200,000 aimed at supporting women into work following career breaks.

Visiting Adopt an Intern in Edinburgh at the premises of AAI employers, Future X, Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn today announced the successful recipients of grants from the Scottish Government’s Returners Fund.

Mr Hepburn met with coordinators of the Adopt an Intern project, who have been awarded £55,000 to expand their work with Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) women returners, supporting personal and work based confidence and resilience.

Returner, Sheila Roussel, Owner of Sheila Roussel Jewellery Design, said:

“Adopt an Intern really helped to build my confidence in my new career. Not only did the internships give me access to the practical side of these businesses, which was invaluable, but also gave me access to a network of industry professionals and customers that I would have found difficult to access without the positions.”

Mr Hepburn said:

“Evidence suggests there are a number of barriers women returning to work following an extended absence with many 


experiencing a ‘motherhood penalty’ following maternity.

This government has a commitment to identify and address the issues preventing women re-entering the workforce, particularly rebuilding skills, knowledge and confidence while enabling employers to gain from recruiting and retaining skilled, experienced staff.

Scotland continues to outperform the UK in terms of female participation in the labour market, however I realise there is more to do to address some of the barriers to work that returners are encountering.

I am pleased to visit Future X today to see the valuable work that Adopt an Intern are doing to support BME women into internships.”

Joy Lewis, CEO of Adopt an Intern said: 

“We’re pleased to be allocated this additional funding to open up possibilities for BME women returners, who prove that technology and terminology may change, but aptitude and attitude do not.

Our thanks to Diageo, one of the companies who have agreed to take on a returner, and Radiant and Brighter who work with the BME community. With this funding we can now work towards closing the pay gap and overcoming the more unseen challenges that face women in the BME community in the workplace.”

Catriona Mackie, Global Supply HR Director, Diageo, commented:

“Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is core to our business purpose and strategy and we are proud to be a partner and support this programme with Adopt an Intern.”

Anwulika Umeh, Co-Founder, Nneoma Group, said:

“Our interest in Women Returnees is based on the experiences and feedback gathered over engagements supporting African and minority ethnic women in the West of Scotland returning to work and enterprise after childbirth, and also those who were not in work before childbirth but now keen to move into a career or enterprise.

These experiences had shown that women from the BMEs have huge potentials and skillset but face even more barriers to employment and enterprise than their mainstream counterparts. We are therefore keen to find opportunities for tailored support for these women.

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