Return to Work

How we help people take their skills, experiences and insights back to the workplace

Speaking with a professional who recognised my ability, skills and potential gave me a lot of confidence. And having guidance on how to answer key questions in interviews was very useful. The mentoring sessions have reconnected me with the person I was before my career break.”

– Shabana, parent returner, Manchester 

Looking to return to work? We’re here to help. 

Planning your return from a career break can be daunting. It’s easy to underestimate the value of hard-earned experience and to ignore the skills we gain from our responsibilities beyond work.

That’s why access to the right practical advice and encouragement can make such a difference – that’s why we’re here. Our mentoring programme connects you with a volunteer HR professional who’ll work with you online, step-by-step for up to 6-months.

Our mentors are experts in people and work, willing to volunteer their time, experience and enthusiasm. Coming from multiple industries and sectors, they know what employers are looking for and how recruitment works. And they know how to boost your confidence, ask the right questions, tweak a CV, prepare you for an interview, and help you succeed and grow at work.

Register your interest

How does it work?

  • The programme runs on a cohort basis. Register your interest and we’ll let you know when the next cohort is due to begin
  • We’ll have a chat with you about the programme to make sure it’s right for you
  • You’ll sign up on our online platform and be matched with a HR mentor
  • You’ll receive mentoring support for up to 6-months
  • Generally mentoring sessions take place once a month but frequency and duration of sessions are agreed by mentee and mentor during dates and times that suit both
  • Sessions happen online either in our dedicated platform or on your preferred platform or phone call

Make it Work: Getting the Job You Want After a Career Break

Are you ready to return to work after taking time away from the workplace? Our webinar discusses how to make sure that you are applying for a job that’s right for you.  

Helping those who need it most

We’re here for those who want advice and encouragement to take their skills, experiences and insights back to the workplace.

So we focus our free, nationwide support on:

  • parents looking to return or transition to a new career.
  • those unemployed or part-time who have the right to work in the UK and are looking for work in the UK.

Register your interest

Tatia’s story

Mentoring helped Tatia feel seen again.

Science technician Tatia had taken time out of her career to look after her children. She was keen to get back into work when she signed up for Steps Ahead mentoring. “I was working full-time and I was a career freak. And then, five years away from that, it felt like my brain had melted. I had no idea how to switch back from being a full-time mum. Thanks to the mentoring I felt seen again.” She attended an interview two days after meeting her mentor and was offered the job the same day. Both part-time and term-time hours, Tatia describes her new role as ‘the dream job’. So, did Tatia feel she gained much value from what must be one of the shortest mentoring relationships ever? “Definitely” she says adamantly. “I was a mess. The first time I felt really good about myself was connecting with Owen. He really calmed me down. He was excited about my CV because I had a good career, but the CV was five years old. The fact that he said I’m not useless was important. So I started realising I’m not done. I can go back. Through just a few emails and one session he helped me to feel that I can do this. That one session helped tremendously.”

How our mentors make a difference

All our mentors are experienced in recruiting, coaching, learning and people strategy. As champions for better work, they give their time to develop and deliver our programmes.

Their expertise shows. 60% of our mentees go on to get a job, apprenticeship or internship.
The experience of our community of people professionals sets us apart, and we maximise our impact by working in partnership with other charities and agencies.

Learn more about our impact.