SIXTEEN North Somerset women who struggled to find a job after having children graduated last week from a free programme helping them return to the workplace.

The Women’s Work Lab is a community interest company which supports women in the south west back into work after extended career breaks and to kickstart careers.

The 12-week programme is open to women who are out of work and in receipt of Universal Credit. It combines face to face expert training with a formal work placement at a respected local employer.

The women then receive six months’ support from a mentor, and ongoing career coaching from the Women’s Work Lab. All training and work placements take place in term-time and during school hours.

The graduation ceremony of this second cohort of the programme in North Somerset took place at Clevedon Town Council’s offices on Friday, December 16.

Training for the third cohort will start on Thursday, April 27 at The Campus in Weston-super-Mare. Sessions will take place on Thursday and Friday mornings from 10am to 1pm.

Women interested in signing up to the Weston-based programme should visit or contact Paige Josham by calling 07464 015 762 or emailing

The Women’s Work Lab would also like to hear from North Somerset businesses interested in hosting a mum on placement.

This would involve providing experience of an entry-level role for 15 hours a week, during school hours, for four weeks in June 2023.

Typically, the shift pattern would be Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 9.30am and 2.30pm.

Often employers offer rotating placements so mums can find out about different career opportunities within their organisation.

Mum of three Yasotha Rajacholan, aged 41 from Claverham, has been offered a role after a successful work placement. Yasotha is now working as a learning mentor for Elmtree Learning Partnership, part of the Weston-based Elementa group of educational companies.

About the programme, Yasotha said: “I’ve grown in confidence so much over the last few months. Every single session with the Women’s Work Lab was so helpful and I learned a great deal about myself."

Sarah Morrison, managing director of Elementa, said: “Again we have been impressed with the Women's Work Lab. It is a fantastic programme that supports participants to recognise and believe in their strengths, while giving them the opportunity to show employers their abilities."