Friday, 21 April 2017

Kemi's Story - Returning to Financial Services Transactions with EY

Women Returners is partnering with EY to launch EY Reconnect, the firm’s 2017 career returners programme, providing a bridge for professionals to re-enter the workplace after an extended career break. Kemi's story is featured on the EY Reconnect website, please see here for more inspirational stories and further information about the programme.

Kemi, Manager, Financial Services Transactions.

“My career has always been very important to me and, although I loved my time at home with my children, I felt the time was right to get back into a hopefully rewarding career.”

Kemi worked at Deloitte and Goldman Sachs before taking a career break to care for her two daughters. She joined EY in the Transactions practice as part of the EY Reconnect programme – a 12-week initiative providing a route back to business for people returning from a break of 2-10 years.

“I did not want my decision to take time off when my children were young to impair my long term career goals, especially as I felt I was even more skilled in areas such as negotiation and time management post two children!  When I came across the EY Reconnect programme, it ticked all the boxes. It would give me exposure to interesting client work but within a programme that was aware of the challenges of coming back to work after a break.”

And the expectations of the programme quickly became a reality for Kemi.

“On joining the programme, I was enthusiastic to get going and add some value to my team. Luckily I have been given the opportunity to do that just that, while taking advantage of the exceptional learning and training EY has to offer.  For example, the career coaching sessions have been very illuminating, with valuable knowledge sharing on the best ways to approach this new stage of my career.”

EY’s flexible and supportive approach was also key factor in Kemi’s decision to join the programme and where she felt she would be able to really contribute.

“Everyone I have encountered have been really positive and interested in the programme, and always keen for a coffee and a catch up. In my opinion EY’s approach to workplace flexibility is empowering for employees and shows a modern organisation that listens to its people.”

Programmes such as EY Reconnect encourage and empower parents to refocus on their careers after a break, according to Kemi.

“There are huge armies of well qualified, experienced people – especially women – who feel marginalised from the work following a career break. EY Reconnect and similar initiatives promote diversity in the workplace which we all know benefits everyone – it’s a win-win situation.”

Of course, returning to work after a long career break can bring some challenges along the way, so what’s been the biggest challenge for Kemi to overcome?

“Realising my kids are alright without me! Because they definitely are. I have a supportive husband and great childcare in place, and this programme has been an opportunity to see that I can manage a busy career and home-life. And I feel I’m providing an important example to my daughters when I go to work each morning now.”

To find out more about the 2017 EY Reconnect Programme, see here:

Posted by Donna

Thursday, 13 April 2017

The Official Returner Programme Dictionary

What’s the difference between a returnship and supported hiring? Are all returner programmes returnships? In the last year many different types of returner programme have appeared - some days even we get confused! To clear up the confusion, we've pulled together a definition of each type of programme. Here's our new ...

Women Returners Returner Programme Dictionary

Returner Programme
The generic term for an initiative targeted specifically at people returning to work after a long career break, including returnshipssupported hiring programmes, returner events, return-to-work fellowships and returner training programmes.

A higher-level professionally-paid internship for returning professionals. A returnship is a short-term contract (usually for 3-6 months), with a strong possibility but not a guarantee of an on-going role at the end of the programme. With most returnships, particularly with larger organisations, support in the form of mentoring/training/coaching is provided. Returnships are solely targeted at people who have taken a long career break. Most returnships occur annually with a cohort (e.g. EY Reconnect), however there may be more than one programme a year. UK returnships are listed here.

Supported Hiring Programme**
A recruitment process by which a returning professional is hired into a permanent position and provided with returner coaching support through the transition. Supported hiring roles are usually open to any applicants, however applications are welcomed from people who have taken a long career break. Supported hiring as part of a returner programme can either be on a cohort basis (eg. Aberdeen Returners Programme) or on an on-going basis (e.g. M&G Career Returners). Note: supported hiring can also be offered for one-off roles (e.g. Mezzvest) rather than as part of a programme.

Returner Event
An event for organisations to engage, support and attract returning professionals. A Returner Conference is a large-scale form of returner event for a large audience over one or two days (e.g. Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Returning Talent Programme). Returner events can also be run for a smaller more targeted audience (e.g. Bloomberg Returner Circle) and/or with a shorter format (eg. Central Government Career Changers Event).

Return-to-Work Fellowship
A funded fellowship for returners to research careers, usually in STEM fields. Fellowships are typically for 1-3 years. One longstanding example is the Daphne Jackson Fellowship.

Returner Training Programme
A form of returner programme where people who have taken a long break are retrained into a new or related field, reskilled to return to practice in their previous field or provided with a supportive refresher programme. This can be combined with a committed on-going role at the end of the training (e.g. FDM Getting Back to Business) or with a potential ongoing role (e.g. CMS Return to Law Programme) or be stand-alone (e.g. Come Back to Nursing).

Note: some Returner Programmes include:

Returner Coaching Programme
A tailored form of coaching to support people returning to work after a career break, ideally addressing both the psychological and the practical challenges, to enable them to be more satisfied and more productive. Offered as part of some returnships and supported hiring programmes. Can be offered for individuals or in groups (e.g. Women Returners Returner Coaching Programme)

*term invented & trademarked by Goldman Sachs, 2008 
**term invented by Women Returners, 2015

Friday, 7 April 2017

Free Online Courses to Support Your Return to Work

If you’re looking to boost your skills and knowledge ready to return to work, and don't have much money to spare, then a free online course could be just what you need. We have compiled a list of some relevant courses to help you to feel prepared for your return to work. Don’t forget to also look at any CPD courses that are provided by relevant industry associations.

If there is one skill that would improve both your chances of finding fulfilling work, and improve your success when in your new role, then networking is it.  This course by Future Learn aims to help you build and sustain your professional relationships to open up career opportunities: Business Fundamentals: Effective Networking

Public speaking
TED is an excellent source of free-to-watch online videos that cover nearly every aspect of your professional life. This playlist collated by TED shares many innovative ideas for great public speaking: Playlist Before Public Speaking

Computer Skills
Microsoft is still king in corporate environments. Luckily there is an abundance of free courses to help you get back up to date with any of the changes since you last had to pull together a spreadsheet. If you are looking to learn Excel as fast as possible ready, this great course from Udemy takes just 1 hour! Online course provider, Alison, has many courses published by Microsoft themselves including Excel, Word and Outlook: Microsoft Courses on Alison

Many companies have now moved over to Google for the majority of their applications. This includes Google Docs, Blogger, Gmail, Analytics and Adsense. Look at Google Courses on Alisonincluding the introductory Google Applications for Business

Other free sources of tech updating include:

  • The Digital Garage - free Google training in digital skills & social media
  • Udacity - tech skills from Silicon Valley companies
  • - a wide range of online tech and other skills courses (paid but often has 30-days-free offers)

University Courses
If you want to learn about a specialised subject or to update your knowledge in your professional field, then free MOOCs (massive open online courses) are a great place to look:

Posted by Donna