It is no secret that women are underrepresented at every level in the workplace. According to the most recent Irish census data, the workforce participation rate for women aged 35 to 55 is 72% – 20% lower than for men.
Significant numbers of highly educated, experienced, professional women take a career break for care giving reasons or have experienced redundancy, and are planning to return to the workforce when the time is right.
However, women ‘returners’ face significant obstacles when they decide to return to paid employment after such breaks and are often overlooked. For the individual, returning to work after a career break can be daunting, with concerns around skills, experience, confidence and working hours.
In 2019, Taste 4 Success Skillnet, in conjunction with UCC’s Food Industry Training Unit and Food Institute, recognised the value of enabling women to return to their careers and developed an innovative programme called Rejuvenate to support them in their quest.
The key challenges for women returning to the workplace can be broken down into two distinctive areas – there is the updating of skills to become subject matter experts again and more importantly, there is the need to build back up their confidence and reconnect with their professional self.
The programme is designed to create new career opportunities for women returning to the paid workforce in the agri-food sector and is fully funded by Taste 4 Success Skillnet and Skillnet Ireland.
Delivered by UCC’s Dr Joanne Fearon and Caroline Seacy of the Food Institute, this bespoke programme provides participants, through both a mentored online programme of skills development and industry-facing experience, the opportunity to re-engage with potential employers.
Rejuvenate 2020, a fully funded online course, will run over 9 weeks, commencing on 20th October, from 10am-12pm every Tuesday and Thursday.
This innovative online format means that the programme is accessible nationwide and will help more talented women return to paid employment.
Prospective participants can find out more about this free course by visiting www.ucc.ie/en/food/rejuvenate2020/