It was a week of celebration in UCC as five groups of women graduated from the award-winning Rejuvenate programme which supports female returners to the workplace.
The programme is run by Taste 4 Success Skillnet, in conjunction with UCC, who recognise the value of enabling women to return to their careers and developed this innovative and popular programme.
With a national talent shortage and a push for greater gender equality, this programme plays an important role in supporting female talent in their goal of returning to the workforce.
Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris congratulated the ‘rejuvenators’ who successfully completed the return-to-work programme.
A special ceremony of female ‘returners’ who participated in UCC’s Rejuvenate Programme, designed to support women planning to return to the workforce following a career break, graduated at UCC. A total of 95 women have completed this inspiring course since 2019.
Speaking at this week’s ceremony Minister Harris said: “My department and the Government are determined to learn from all of you, and to learn from all that you have achieved, to build on it and to ensure that we can extend your success to many others.”
Minister Harris added: “What is unique about the Rejuvenate Programme is that women’s needs are placed at the core of its design, offering an innovative, tailored, learning and development programme. It’s inspiring to hear that over 75% of the first three Rejuvenate groups have now progressed to employment, and that 30% are undertaking further education and training, and all are continuing their lifelong journey. My department and the Government are determined to learn from all of you, and to learn from all that you have achieved, to build on it and to ensure that we can extend your success to many others.”
Programme helps to maximise female workforce participation
The bespoke programme, fully funded by Taste 4 Success Skillnet and delivered by UCC, supports Ireland’s business, social, and economic growth by helping to maximise female workforce participation.
Bridie Corrigan Matthews, Network Director, Taste 4 Success Skillnet, said: “We are so proud of Rejuvenate, the women who are part of this wonderful programme, and our continued work with the team at the Food Industry Training Unit at UCC. The dedication of the team, and the enthusiasm of each participant, has helped to ensure the delivery of another outstanding programme; enabling professional women to rebuild their skills, their confidence and return to the workforce.”
“Through the interactive online facility, Rejuvenate has been able to reach out to every corner of Ireland and, during the two years of the pandemic, we have been able to bring together a vast array of excellent women from across Ireland, who have worked, networked and learnt together. We take this opportunity to wish everyone continued success and happiness, as they start their new careers, and/or take the next steps in their personal progression. We look forward to keeping in touch and hearing of your journey to your next successful destination.”
Shines light on the value of increased diversity
Dave Flynn, Director of Business Networks, Skillnet Ireland, commented: “The Rejuvenate Programme shines a light on the value of increased diversity in our workforce. The success of this industry-led programme, designed by Taste 4 Success Skillnet and the Food Industry Training Unit at UCC, which supports women returners to the workforce, tapped into a new group of potential employees – a group that brings diversity of perspective, a fresh pair of eyes and a wealth of experience. It offers participants a high progression level to employment and further education opportunities while organisations can access a new stream of talent to drive innovation and growth in the agri-food sector and beyond.”
Rejuvenate was awarded the Best Diversity and Inclusion Initiative at the Irish Institute of Training & Development (IITD) National Training Awards 2020.