Women Like Us (now known as Timewise Foundation) was set up in 2004 in north London to help women with children get back to work and help employers find experienced part-time workers.
Co-founders Karen Mattison and Emma Stewart, both mothers, were working as business consultants when they realised there was a gap in the recruitment market — there are currently more than half a million women across the UK who want to work but lack the support and confidence to find flexible jobs that fit around family life.
“Employers were telling us that that they were struggling to recruit good, experienced part-time workers, while mums at the school gates were telling us that they really wanted to get back to work but didn’t know where to go,” says Ms Mattison. They realised that the best way to reach out-of-work mothers was via schools and began to form partnerships.
By offering careers advice and training, such as writing CVs, completing application forms and interview skills, a vital part of the work of Women Like Us is to help women regain the confidence to go back into the job market. And they combine that with an award-winning recruitment service, specialising in part-time jobs for employers across the capital – from SMEs to large corporates.
In 2007, the business structure was changed to a CIC. “By operating as a CIC, Women Like Us is able to protect its social mission, giving assurance to our school partners, government funders and other key stakeholders that we are achieving our social aim,” says Ms Mattison. “At the same time, it also allows us to operate as a business, working with employers and government on commercial terms.”
The model has been so successful that Women Like Us has won a string of awards.
It has secured a number of contracts from both local and regional government. It has also been recommended by the Prime Minister’s Women and Work Commission Report, to roll out the scheme nationally.
For now though, the plan is to expand throughout London, giving more mothers the chance to get back to work. “The transformation of women with all kinds of work backgrounds after they have been through our programme, regained their confidence and found flexible work that they can fit around their children is astonishing,” says Ms Mattison.
||Women Like Us
||CIC limited by guarantee
|Community interest statement
||Women Like Us helps women with children to find work that they can fit around their family lives. It reaches out to women and encourages them on their journey back to work through coaching and recruitment services.
Find out more about Women Like Us Women Like Us now known as Timewise Foundation