Had a break? You can re­turn in a se­nior role

Daily Mail - - Career Mail - SEARCH for O2 ca­reers or see wom­en­re­turn­ers.com and pwc.co.uk

A Re­TuRn­SHiP can help you get back to work af­ter a ca­reer break.

Around 427,000 fe­male pro­fes­sion­als want to re­turn to work in the fu­ture, but three in five are likely to move into low­er­skilled or lower- paid roles, says pro­fes­sional ser­vices firm PwC.

Re­becca Ball, 46, a for­mer ar­chi­tect, says: ‘i took a ca­reer break, as the long hours and travel de­mands of ar­chi­tec­ture did not fit around a fam­ily.’

When Re­becca (pic­tured) tried to re­turn to ar­chi­tec­ture seven years later, she found wages had fallen and work­ing hours were in­flex­i­ble.

‘Work­ing late was nor­mal, so women with fam­i­lies were not ideal can­di­dates,’ she says.

When she heard about re­turn­ships — paid in­tern­ships aimed at re­turn­ers — she at­tended a Women Re­turn­ers con­fer­ence and later ap­plied for a re­turn­ers’ pro­gramme at tele­coms firm O2, as it had flex­i­ble work and train­ing. Af­ter tak­ing part in its 2017 ini­tia­tive, Re­becca was taken on as a man­ager in O2’s Lon­don in­fra­struc­ture team.

She says: ‘i am us­ing my ex­pe­ri­ence in aes­thet­ics, con­struc­tion and con­tract man­age­ment to help build re­la­tion­ships with land­lords, city plan­ners and de­vel­op­ers. i’m at a level i was at be­fore, and there is po­ten­tial to ex­ceed that. The re­turner pro­gramme made me re­alise that my generic skills, such as man­age­ment, could be used out­side my pre­vi­ous sec­tor. A ca­reer break is not neg­a­tive — things you achieved in your break can add to your skills.’ O2’ s ca­reer re­turn­ers pro­gramme, open to fe­male and male pro­fes­sion­als, in­cludes train­ing, men­tor­ing and ex­pe­ri­ence in a va­ri­ety of roles. Women Re­turn­ers MD Ju­lianne Miles says: ‘The num­ber of re­turn­ships is in­creas­ing. Women Re­turn­ers lists over 40 or­gan­i­sa­tions that of­fer pro­grammes or re­turner sup­port, in sec­tors in­clud­ing fi­nance, law, sci­ence, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and health­care.’ Ann Pick­er­ing, HR di­rec­tor at O2, says: ‘ Mo­men­tum around re­turn­ships is build­ing, but busi­ness must broaden its at­ti­tude to re­cruit­ing men and women who are re­turn­ing from a ca­reer break or risk miss­ing out on lead­er­ship po­ten­tial.’

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