2021: A look back on a year that none of us will forget
Happy New Year

Posted on Dec 30th, 2021 by Beckie

2021 – what a year that was

We’re all still trying to navigate the world during a pandemic and searching for ways for us to return to some form of new normality. Now is a good time to reflect on what we have achieved as a business and to start fresh in 2022 with new and exciting plans.

Supporting Returners

Year 2021 has been a great year for us, and we have supported our returners in technology to develop their skills and confidence to take the next steps in their careers.

In 2021 we have completed 5 “Your Return To Tech” programmes resulting in our returners gaining on average over £10,000 more in salary on their return. Which is amazing achievement for us!

Developing tech talent

Our DevOps Up-skill programme has continued to support upskilling their technology career. Through our DevOps programme, we have given the businesses and their engineers the opportunity to learn and enhance their DevOps skills.

We have so far completed 2 programmes (65 participants, 32 of them being women) with a new DevOps programme starting in January. The programme is free (fully funded) for residents across Greater Manchester & Lancashire. We are offering our partners exclusive access to limited free places and the opportunity to upskill their engineers in DevOps.

Our future leaders

The Confidence Community is committed to empowering careers in technology and developing the leadership and confidence skills of individuals who apply to our programme.

This year we have run 2 programmes with exciting new plans for 2022! Our programmes in the past have supported more than 24 individuals into a more confident future. We are passionate about providing the tools, learning and resources to help more people increase and retain confidence in their professional and personal lives. 

See what 2021 looked like for us here

Speaking events

We believe in creating a difference in people’s lives and giving back to our community. We have been actively part of events and speaking opportunities focusing on topics important to the business and our team. We connected with many people as a result of sharing advice and personal experiences about the successes and challenges faced by people returning to tech.

To name a few, we have partnered and worked with:

  • WM People – A roundtable that was hosted by WM people focusing on returner initiatives and included employers from a range of sectors. We co-sponsored the event where Beckie shared her experience and best practices about returner programmes. Find out more about the session here.
  • InnovateHer workshop – Back in September, we also partnered with InnovateHer for an exclusive partner event where Beckie spoke about her journey back into tech.
  • APSCo (Women In Recruitment) – In October, our CEO was approached by APSCo to join them for an inspirational talk. Beckie shared her own personal experience of being a woman in tech, the barriers she faced upon returning to her career after a break and how she overcame those challenges.
  • Tech Talks – An interesting catch-up with David Savage where our CEO, Beckie Taylor spoke about finding confidence in your return to tech. Link to the talk here.
  • IHR London Live – An exciting speaker session where Beckie again gave insights about her career, personal aspirations, and her initiative behind Tech returners. More info about IHR London live can be found here.

Also, in a one-off, bonus episode of The ANS Podcast, Olivia and Anthony had a catch up with this years' WIT Ambassador, Megan Corlett and Beckie Taylor. They discussed one of the most trending topics spoken about today; overcoming imposter syndrome, closing the digital skills gap and understanding the 'Power of Yet' when it comes to a change in career or return to work. Here is the link to the podcast if you want to know more.

Later in the year, James Heggs, our Co-founder also released a podcast that spoke about leadership and what it is like to return to tech after a break. Link to the podcast can be found here, for anyone who is interested!

Last but not the least, Beckie Taylor was also part of the judging panel at the Northern Power Awards supporting making the decision of who to crown the next Transformational Leader in March 2022!

__Our 4th birthday __

In November, we celebrated Tech Returners’ fourth anniversary the best way we knew how –an office party! We were showered with multiple videos and written messages from all the people we have supported and the companies who believed in our purpose. The team is extremely grateful for the continued support and trust from our community, and we look forward to more successful years to come.

The Design Sprint  

What do you call a company that pauses their entire business, and pulls their team out of their day-to-day work? Tech Returners. That’s exactly what we did back in June as part of our ‘Design Sprint’. Beckie and James made the call to halt our entire operations to plan and revamp our ‘Your Return to Tech’ programmes. A much-needed time for the whole business to reflect on the feedback received from returners and partners and discuss new processes that would reshape the way we planned and delivered our programmes. The result from this was a new industry leading curriculum, pioneering the removal of the “cv” and implementing a holistic returner profile.

Welcome to the team

Say hello to; Kim, Kerry, Emily, Robin, Natasha, Victoria, Simon, Mili, Neil, and Charlotte. That’s what we call growth! In less than 12 months, we welcomed ten new members to the Tech Returners family – each department saw fresh talent join them. We’ve already seen such amazing contribution from every single person, with our company growing exponentially, we look forward to seeing what the team will look like in the next 18 months.

Our new office

After a long search that included not so desirable trial runs: we finally found our new office in Manchester city centre. We were in desperate need of a home base to host our team days and department meetings – that weren’t hotel conference rooms. We’re loving our new office; it has brought the team together as we have been able to co-ordinate social outings and work more collaboratively. Despite the new office, we’re still championing flexible, remote, and hybrid working for all our staff.

Nominations and awards

We’re super thrilled that we have received nominations and awards on the following – with special mention to Kim Diep and Beckie Taylor for their individual nominations.

  • Women in IT – Awards Series 2021
  • Education and Training Initiative of The Year

Tech Returners

  • Women in IT – Awards Series 2021

Woman of The Year
Beckie Taylor, CEO

  • Northern Power Women: Transformational Leader of The Year 2020 Beckie Taylor, CEO
  • Voted in the Top 50 Most Influential Woman in UK Technology 2021 Beckie Taylor, CEO
  • Women in Software Powerlist 2021 Kim Diep, Software Engineer & Tech Coach
  • Women in Software Changemakers 2021 Tech Returners

And it’s recently been announced that we’ve been nominated by WM People for the following awards:

  • Best for Returners Award 2022
  • SME Top Employer Award 2022
  • Norther Power Awards 2022 for Small Organisation

We’ve got our fingers crossed!

Reframe conference

Our of the biggest announcement of 2021 was the relaunch of Reframe Women in Tech Conference 2022. It's hard to believe it's almost been two years since we hosted the very first Reframe Women In Tech Conference - and it's fair to say a lot has happened since then!

But we said we'd be back, and we meant it!

In March 2022, we'll be bringing back our not-for-profit event, for and run by a community of like-minded technology experts and future tech talent, to reframe the narrative around women in technology through positive action.

We'll be sharing positive journeys from leaders in the field, first-time speakers, and everyone in between for a day of learning and collaboration designed to empower us all to develop, succeed and inspire.

We’re rebranding

It's time for our brand to evolve to reflect who we are today and who we're going to be in the future.

So, we're on the search for the perfect partner to help us shape our direction. We’ll be redeveloping our brand, website, mission, vision, brand identity, and values.

2022 will see the unveiling of our new brand and website. Stay tuned.

__Children’s ward Royal Bolton Hospital __

We’re proud to announce that together with our team and community, we have raised £300 for the Children’s ward at Royal Bolton Hospital. With the generous donations, we have bought toys for the brave children who are having to spend Christmas at the hospital. In doing so, we hope to bring a smile to the parents and children. And highlight the importance of giving back to our local community.

From the entire team at Tech Returners, thank you to everyone, past and present who has supported our journey. We hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

Most of the team will be out of office over the Christmas break, but we’ll be back on 4th January 2022 - see you then.