Emma's Return to Work Journey

We sat down with the lovely Emma Craddock, to chat to her about her experience with taking a career break and returning to work on a returner programme.

 

Name: Emma Craddock

Career break: 3 years

Company placed into: Chaucer Group

New role: Property Portfolio Manager

 

Tell us about you before your career break?

Pre career break I was working managing the analytics relationship between JLT Specialty and JLT Re.  I had been working for various reinsurance brokers for almost 15 years in various analytical and catastrophe modelling roles. At the time I had 3 young children who at the time of leaving JLT were 2, 5 and 6.   I really enjoyed the variety of my role. I was working 3 days a week so I was very lucky to have a part time role, but I found that the days were so long that the children were in bed or just getting into bed by the time I got home so didn’t really see them 3 days a week.

 

“I just wanted to spend a bit of time enjoying being around the children more before my youngest started school”.

 

What did you do during your career break ? 

A friend who knew I loved my spreadsheets (excel) recommended me to a nursery and so I started working at the nursery for half a day a week helping out as their finance manager.

I really enjoyed the work and I decided to study the book keeping exams which I felt would be a really interesting course but may also be a useful qualification to have if I decided not to return to insurance.  I spent the next year and a half working at the nursery, studying and enjoying the extra time with the children without having to juggle childcare. I then qualified from my course and just as I was thinking about my next move, a role can up for a book keeper at a golf club nearby.

Originally the role was for just 6 months as they migrated all their accounts and membership records onto a new platform and it seemed a perfect opportunity to return to work and utilise my new skills.

Covid hit 6 months into the role and they asked me to stay on to help manage all the challenges that covid threw at small businesses. I also hoped that the effect of covid and shift to home working might mean that working from home a few days a week might be an option. I decided to look at a contracting role originally as I wanted to be certain that I was ready to go back into insurance before I committed to a permanent role.

 

Emma adds “Whilst I got a number of interviews, the what was by now a 3 year gap, meant that I lost out each time to someone with much more recent experience.”

 

How did you hear about the insurance returners programme?

A school friend mentioned the returners programme one day to me whilst we were out for a walk.  She had seen an advert for the returner programme and thought of me as she knew I was struggling to get back into the industry.  The returner programme came along at just the right time for me.

How was the experience going through the returner programme – from interviews with Inclusivity all the way through to the six months?

My initial interview with Inclusivity was with Stephanie and it was brilliant.  It was amazing having someone to speak to, who was really positive about my career to date and all the decisions I had made.  At a time when I was beginning to doubt I was ever going to be able to return to insurance she was able to provide a huge moral boost and give me confidence that I would find something.

Chaucer was the first company who interviewed me and again they seemed genuinely interested in my experience to date and seemed really excited about what I could bring to their team.  I had a total of two interviews with them and was delighted to be offer a placement with them.

Tell us about your offer….

In January this year after being at Chaucer for 4 months I was offered the role of property portfolio manager and a permanent contract.  One of the teams this was managing was the treaty team I had been working within for the previous couple of months.  I was delighted to accept the offer and the transition to the role was made much easier by the fact I knew the team well having worked with them for a couple of months.  The new role is still 4 days a week and so I feel I have a really good balance of being at home and in the office.  I am able to be flexible on the number of days I come into the office which has meant the transition feel so much easier.

Any advice for others?

It doesn’t do any harm to start the process and find out what your options are.  I personally found that I had so many questions and hurdles in my mind for reasons why it wouldn’t work for me, but once I began to talk to people and talked through the possible roles everything slowly began to slot into place.  For me my main hurdle was working out how my return would work for our family and the day to day logistics.  It wasn’t until I had been offered a role and was beginning to discuss days / hours that I was able to see how I could make it work.

 

Insurance is an industry Inclusivity has worked with for some time and we have excellent connections with the UK’s top employers. If you are on a career break seeking to return to this industry we urge you to submit your C.V to us here. Or view all opportunities here, all candidates we place will receive our unique 1:1 coaching and on-going support to ensure your transition back to work with confidence.

 

We will keep you posted on Emma’s return to work journey.

We’re delighted to partner with Zurich Insurance UK, supporting people return to work in the insurance industry after career breaks.

Returning to work with Zurich and Inclusivity

 

Zurich and Inclusivity both believe having a diverse range of employees leads to diversity of experience and thought, which ultimately benefits our business and our customers.

Zurich is committed to having a workforce that truly represents the communities in which we operate and encourage applicants from all backgrounds and cultures. Diversity, however, means so much more than that and we’re delighted to partner with Zurich Insurance UK, who acknowledge and support people returning to work after career breaks.

Returning to Work after an extended Career Break

 

While caring for young children is the number one reason for taking a career break, there are many reasons why people take time out from the workplace – and returning can be a daunting experience. Whatever the reason for the break, these returners often have the skills and experience we’re looking for and would be a great asset to to many businesses.

We’re confident that our partnership with Zurich Insurance UK will help us give returners the confidence to take that first step back into the world of work and have a long and fulfilling career.

Don’t just take our word for it though, Suma Selvakumaravel joined Zurich as a Senior Business Analyst in February this year, after a 10-year career break. Read her story of how the returners programme with Inclusivity helped her land this role .

 

Suma Selvakumaravel, Senior Business Analyst

“Returning to work was always on the cards, however I did not take any steps to progress this until a few years ago. It was during the pandemic, that I really started to lose my sense of self. I’ve always thrived in the work environment, and it was important to me to return to work to get my confidence and identity back.” Continue reading here

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If you’re looking at returning to work after an absence of 18 months or more, why not register on our website. There are a variety of roles available across all aspects of the insurance industry and we will guide and support you through every step of the application process.

 

Returnships or Return to Work Programmes

 

Specialist organisations, like ourselves match returners with organisations who recognise the value they have to offer and who are ready to provide a supported transition back to a permanent role.

Typically, a return to work programme offers a six month fixed term contract, along with a tailored onboarding and induction process, a buddy and mentor from within the organisation and one-to-one specialist coaching. Candidates usually begin work as a small cohort, with four or more people starting at the same time.

For more information or advice contact us here

 

Wondering whether a Returner Programme is for you? Will it fit in with your other commitments and are you ready to take a leap into a new career path? At Inclusivity we know there are many worries people have surrounding going back to work and whether it will work for you as an individual. It’s why we love to share stories of those who have returned to their careers successfully. Read more

Inclusivity Transitional Coaching Services

Nine leading insurance industry businesses announced the creation of a program in the UK that will enable “career-break” professionals to return to work.

The program will enable participating firms to tap into the “forgotten army” of experienced women who are ready to return to work after a career break, said Stephanie Dillon, founder of Inclusivity Partners, the organization delivering this program. Read more

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Insurers and brokers have backed a programme which will allow women and men who have taken a career break to return to the industry.

The programme, which is open to applicants now, will offer successful candidates a six-month paid placement at one of the participating organisations and one-to-one specialist training. Read more

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Returner programmes are becoming increasingly popular. Rightly so when one considers the enormous amount of talent estimated to be ready to reignite their career yet lacking in ways to access employment. PWC’s 2016 report titled the £1billion potential of Women Returners highlighted that a suspected 427,000 highly qualified women are currently on career breaks and ready to return. More and more companies are putting in place Returner programmes which is heartening to see but feedback from participants is that not all are set up for success.

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