Women Like Us has launched a new digital careers service, enabling women to exchange skills and advice on balancing work with a family.
Women Like Us is an award-winning social enterprise, helping women with children find work to fit with family life. It does this by providing frontline career advice and support, as well as access to part-time work through its specialist recruitment service, Timewise Jobs.
Through its new online careers service, Women Like Us is aiming to enable thousands of women to exchange their knowledge and skills, to help each other build careers – or start businesses – that can be balanced with caring responsibilities. The idea was to create a space where women can offer or swap their expertise through an online portal, and using a range of sharing tools (such as webinars, blogs and forums), to maximise giving, impact and learning.
For example, a retired HR professional could run a webchat on how to address career gaps in preparing a new CV, or a finance officer in the city could host an online Q&A on building a part-time career in financial services. In doing so, founder Emma Stewart wants to harness what she calls the “latent motivation” in many women who have grappled with balancing work and family life, and are keen to share and swap their knowledge to help others build fulfilling, family-friendly careers.
In the three months following its spring 2013 launch Women Like Us online had over 50,000 visits from 34,000 unique users, and engaged more than 35 businesses to donate staff time to share their skills and expertise by providing career guidance on the site.
The site has been featured in numerous media articles and was named one of the top 10 most influential sites for women in the UK by the Huffington Post.
Since launching Women Like Us online, the Timewise Foundation (which runs Women Like Us) has gone on to develop a new local model, and recently launched Women Like Us Camden, commissioned by Camden Council.
Award and follow-on funding
Women Like Us was awarded £49,449 in the second round of the Innovation in Giving Fund to build and launch the online career portal, to develop a network of professional women to volunteer as career sharers through the businesses they work for, and to pilot in London with a view to expanding across the UK.
The organisation was awarded a further £147,462 to develop its employer offering by establishing a business-to-business knowledge sharing hub for flexible working, enabling businesses to achieve social impact through their core HR practices as employers, as much as their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes.
The Timewise Foundation is also a recent awardee of the Big Venture Challenge, a programme from UnLtd and the Big Lottery Fund, which supports ambitious entrepreneurs looking to achieve social impact at scale.
Emma Stewart, director