READING West MP Alok Sharma has today (March 11) opened a boot camp programme at cloud company Oracle to support those returning to work after taking time to look after their families.

Back2businesship - a government backed returners programme for mums and carers - is calling on all employers.

The Thames Valley has been chosen by the Government Equalities Office to receive a grant for the boot camp, which will help people get back onto the career ladder.

It’s part of a £1.5 million fund which supports people back into work after taking time out to care for their families, whether they have looked after children or supported elderly or sick family members.

Oracle HQ in Reading is already on board to support the programme.

Employers joining the scheme will be able to choose their ideal candidate through an interview-style event to meet this year’s returners in person.

The event takes place on Thursday March 21.

Speaking at the event, minister of state for employment Alok Sharma said: "There are currently 1.2 million returners, potential people coming back to the work force and of those over 90 per cent are women.

"If we were able – Government working with employers – to make sure that we can get returners back into the workforce at a pace that they want we will add another £150 billion to our economy by 2025.

"Politicians love to put stats out there but ultimately this also is about individuals and their personal journeys and each of you will have your own unique experience and your own unique story.

"And what this next two weeks is about – this boot camp – is to make sure that you have an opportunity to develop and to make sure that you get an opportunity to put your case in front of employers.

"As I said, we have a record number of vacancies are you precisely the kind of the talent that we want filling those jobs."