Usually it is mums that give up work, once children are born or become majority care giver. This is either out of choice or not, dependent on what access they have to childcare, or family members who can help. They may not be able to consider returning to work until their children are in preschool or school, and often it is difficult to find jobs that will fit around school time or that are part-time. Often these jobs will require someone who has either worked for them for a while, who has a particular skillset, it is a lower paid opportunity or involves a shift pattern with antisocial hours. 

This also doesn’t solve the other challenge; what to do for childcare during the holidays? Current funding only covers the 9 months in term time, if your child is old enough. So that either means expensive summer and easter months of childcare which may cost as much or more than a monthly salary. The alternative is a job which allows you to take holiday over these months, which not many do, or mean no income over those months. 

Dealing with the challenge

Having spent a significant time out of the workplace, it can be challenging to get back into it. Not only are there office working dynamics to consider, new systems, technology and ways of working but it is also a matter of skills too, particularly if you are looking to secure a higher paid opportunity.

 

We live in expensive times, the housing market has grown so significantly that for many;  the dream of owning their own home is many years away; if at all. When families come along, it becomes more complicated and expensive to work with children and often childcare costs make it impossible, particularly in the first few years and school holidays. So how can you support your local community to become more self sufficient and to be able to support themselves, particularly when they become a family? 

 

Support them to launch their businesses

 

This represents an opportunity to support these families in your local community. By running start up business courses that will help them to start up their own business you will give them access to skills from sales, marketing and business acumen to set up their own business. This gives them the freedom to be able to work their business around their children and childcare needs, as well as be present for them during holiday times if activity clubs and afterschool childcare costs are too prohibitive. It will also help them to deliver something that they are proud of and enthusiastic about, and the potential to invest in theirs and their family’s future. 

Give them access to a network

Run the start up course with people in similar situations, all learning new skills and launching their businesses around the same time and encouraging them to engage with each other and remain in touch. You can give them a social platform to do so and this will be the start of a business support network that they can tap into when they are looking for reassurance or to share their experiences with each other. Running your own business can be lonely, so it is great to know people who are in the same situation. It might also open the opportunity for collaborations which will see them join forces or to collaborate to provide something that benefits their local community; the opportunities are endless. 

 

Give them the skills that they need

 

At the very least the course will need to focus on Sales, Marketing, Website, Social Media and the generics of running a business. There is a lot of difference between being able to set up a social media account and posting a bit of content, to actually working out the type of content that should be included on that page and how to engage with other people to make your page more visible. It is not often that people will have sales and marketing experience as traditionally larger firms split these disciplines. The course will need to teach them what they are and identify new techniques that might have developed during their time away from the workplace. Lastly, the course needs to help them to feel confident. This is a segment that might have been out of work for some time and been very focussed on their own family that they may struggle with their own confidence. So the course needs to be handed in the right manner and needs to be aimed at supporting them to feel confident in the potential here. It should be delivered by people who have experience of running a business too, not just a qualified trainer. Anybody who starts a business has points throughout when they question what they do, the wonder how to deliver something and they will be able to offer support to explain how to manage these times. 

 

Give them a mentoring service

It doesn’t stop once they launch, you want to give them a support structure that they can tap into when they need it. This should be in the form of a mentoring service, where they can meet with experienced entrepreneurs to discuss their company’s progress, their business journey and their plan; how they want to grow and how to deal with any challenges. The mentoring service might also need to offer guidance about scaling up, growing continuously and sustainably and how to expand if appropriate. 

 

Give them a post training support service

Post training support should be available for the first 3 years, to boost their chances of running and launching a successful business. This will benefit your council because you will help them to be engaged and have a sustainable business. You will encourage them to support their local community and council – meaning that they may invest back, create job opportunities, support local apprenticeship schemes and so on.  Sustainability should be your focus. It is pointless investing in a training scheme that will see them launch a business and leave them on their own in the unknown. The skills that they can learn from a course will be great for helping them to launch but it is still a challenging time at the start. They will benefit from a support service when they have challenges or aren’t sure how to structure their social media campaigns, or whether they should invest some money into an advertising strategy? If you can help your local community to deliver sustainable businesses, past the traditional 3 year mark, you can expect an engagement community of new startup businesses, who will look to invest back into the community and in time create job opportunities.  

 

Get in touch – if you are looking to run a start up course in your area, find out how we have been helping other local councils to roll out a training course that helps to create sustainable businesses. Contact us at info@smartersociety.org or complete our contact form here