Only one in six tech specialists in the UK are women, yet they make up nearly half (47%) of the UK workforce. Fewer than one in ten of those currently occupy senior management positions. There is still a great deal of work to do to encourage diversity in technology. Salesforce Supermums is a programme, which does exactly that.
Salesforce Supermums is a pioneering digital skills training programme, which empowers mums to get back to work with Salesforce CRM Admin skills, coaching and work experience. The programme helps increase women in technology, alongside helping them overcome the obstacles of returning to work and assisting them to secure well-paid flexible job roles feasible around their children.
The current challenge is highlighted in a recent PWC Women Returners Report, which identified that 3 in 5 of women are likely to return to a lower skilled job, and up to one third lower a salary due to a switch to a part-time career. This does not need to be the case. Salesforce Supermums shines a spotlight on what is possible for working women. It has empowered a highly experienced and flexible Salesforce workforce, as well as helped meet demand for affordable Salesforce skills amongst non-profit organisations.
Mother of two, Heather Black founded the programme in the UK in 2016. Heather has worked with Salesforce since 2010, and runs a Salesforce Consultancy that specialises in supporting non-profits. When Heather’s eldest daughter was born, she continued to work flexibly around her family. She is not alone in doing so: 2017 ONS figures showed almost three quarters of working women with dependent children in the UK are in either full or part-time work.
When Heather’s second daughter arrived, she began to think about how Salesforce enabled her to stay working, realising that Salesforce is an enabler to flexibility. The lightbulb moment happened, and Heather created the Supermums Programme.
Supermums brings parents and non-profits together to empower both to thrive. For mums, it builds confidence, skills and work experience as they look to develop their expertise, whilst it empowers non-profit organisations to become more sustainable and grow through the functionality offered by CRM.
The six-month programme sees 40 days of learning, where they are trained and mentored by Salesforce consultants and administrators to help them to learn and apply new Salesforce skills. The programme was created to help working mums thrive - breaking for school holidays.
Weekly tasks and homework are set to complete either in-person or online, using Salesforce's online training platform, Trailhead. Offering courses from code to management, user experience to CRM essentials, completing over 50 Trailhead badges is a part of the Supermums programme. Crucially, participants gain valuable work experience on a live CRM implementation project for a charity client. Small charities are offered a discounted CRM implementation.
Upon graduation, mentors help participants to find a Salesforce role that is right for them, providing interview coaching and support as they start their new role. After qualifying as a certified Salesforce Administrator, they can explore additional areas and move into a wide range of roles, depending on their professional background. Just like Salesforce Supermums graduates Barbara and Debbie:
Barbara: “I was on maternity leave with my second child and feeling very unsatisfied with life, and small people in particular, when Supermums popped on to my radar. I knew what Salesforce was, but had never really considered a career in it before. I enjoyed the learning, the challenges, the flexibility and not to mention the fact that it gave me space to be a mum AND work. I am now working as a Salesforce Solution Consultant for Economic Change – I now have a flexible and exciting role which fits around my family, the perfect work-life balance for me.”
Debbie: “I would highly recommend the programme to anyone considering a career in Salesforce. It is a great grounding in the software and the skills needed to implement and manage systems. The Supermums programme also gives practical work experience, which helps give confidence that you can apply the learning ready for when you get a job. The support of the team in both the webinars and the practical project are invaluable.”
Salesforce Supermums is an end-to-end springboard programme that assists mothers to develop and build career-boosting digital skills, retrain them after a career break, and help them find a well-paid job role that is right for them.
The programme has attracted the corporate support of Salesforce and Sage, offering in-kind and financial support. Sage employees also voted Salesforce Supermums as Equality and Diversity Non-Profit of the year.
Supermums is international in scope, with trainers and volunteers alike participating in the course from multiple countries. In its two years of operation, the programme has run eight courses, attracted 66 trainees and provided 1,984 pro-bono hours, worth over £192k to 46 non-profits. So far, 29 trainees have completed and 26 are still learning on active courses. 21 trainees are now certified and 23 are working within Salesforce-related jobs. The programme is having a real impact amongst working parents, giving them career options and the chance to move into new areas and challenges while at the same time being able to manage the demands of parenthood.
Following a successful two year pilot period, during 2019, there is a plan to scale up the programme to make it financially sustainable. This will include introducing new courses, increasing the number of trainees and placing more mums into well-paid roles.
What makes Supermums unique is that it is helping bring the flexibility offered by being able to train and work entirely remotely to a section of the workforce that can really benefit – new mums. The key factors to sustainability for the programme is the fact that many new parents would like to continue working more flexibly after having children, and the programme helps train them in the digital skills that can help them do so. The success of the programme is being promoted with a new webinar series called the 'Day in the Life of a Supermums' to share the stories of Supermums who have successfully changed their lives.
The other key sustainability factor for the programme is the large need within the non-profit sector for software that can help manage their outreach, fundraising and many other aspects of their day-to-day activities. Supermums helps support non-profit organisations to implement this using the mums enrolled on the programme, both during placements and after they graduate.
The financial sustainability of the initiative is secured through a social enterprise model - the trainees financially contribute to the cost of the course, investing £1500, and the initiative also runs a recruitment service actively sourcing job opportunities and placing mums into work. So far, 15 placements have been made by placing candidates into job roles within Salesforce Consultancies, ISV partners, and end user customers. A fee is earned for every placement, which also helps to cover the costs of the training programme. The future ambition with the initiative is to scale up the Supermums recruitment service, so the profit can be reinvested into a bursary scheme to enable mums to participate, who suffer from financial hardship, initially supporting single parents, young mums and mums with disabilities.