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Government publishes guidance on encouraging people to return to work after a career break

31 March 2023

Update to guidance follows budget announcement of support for returners over 50.

The Spring Budget published on 15 March, announced £63 million in additional funding for “Returnerships”, a programme to encourage the over-50s to return to work following a career break or early retirement.

The programme aims to provide better access to training and retraining, promoting accelerated apprenticeships, sector-based Work Academy Programme placements and Skills Bootcamps. The focus will be on providing flexible ways to re-skill and up-skill, taking into account previous experience to reduce the length of retraining.

Updated guidance

The Government published Employer guidance: helping people return to work on 17 March. This provides advice for employers who wish to encourage people of all ages to return to work after a career break. It was updated from guidance which was particularly focused on people returning to work after taking an extended break from work due to caring responsibilities.

The Guidance makes clear the advantages of encouraging returners, including tapping  into a mature, experienced workforce, tackling skills shortages and creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

Top tops for helping people return to work

The Guidance suggests a number of top tips to encourage those returning to work including:

  • Championing returners at senior leader level
  • Changing recruitment practices – including offering flexible / part-time working and mentioning that the post is suitable for returners in advertisements, and asking for number of years’ experience rather than recent experience
  • Making changes to on-boarding practices to overcome barriers for returners
  • Promoting coaching, mentoring and peer support networks
  • Having points of contact for wellbeing support
  • Offering site visits, career reviews and practice interviews

Further information on flexible working

For more on the subject of flexible working, please see our recent article: Has Covid-19 changed how we work?

You may also be interested in our article considering the practicalities of flexible working in the education sector: Is flexible working really an option in schools?

How Wrigleys can help

The employment team at Wrigleys is expert in helping charities, third sector and education sector clients to create, establish, update and implement workplace policies to facilitate a more diverse and inclusive workplace, including recruitment, flexible, remote and home-working, and family friendly policies.

Importantly, we work within the wider charities, social economy, and education teams at Wrigleys and so we have in-depth understanding of how our clients’ governance, regulatory and industrial relations obligations impact on their employment policies, processes and decisions. 


If you would like to discuss any aspect of this article further, please contact Alacoque Marvin or any other member of the employment team on 0113 244 6100.

You can also keep up to date by following Wrigleys employment team on X.

The information in this article is necessarily of a general nature.  The law stated is correct at the date (stated above) this article was first posted to our website. Specific advice should be sought for specific situations. If you have any queries or need any legal advice please feel free to contact Wrigleys Solicitors.




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Alacoque Marvin


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