We spoke with Mandy Charters, a strong career woman and mother of two, about her experience with taking a career break and returning to work on a returner programme.
Mandy’s story took many different turns, some many of us are familiar with, and some not as much, which just makes her even more interesting and admirable.
Name: Many Charters
Career break: over 4 years
Returner Programme Placement: Axis Capital
New role: Management Accountant
TELL US ABOUT ‘YOU’ BEFORE YOUR CAREER BREAK?
I worked as an Accountant in the Insurance Industry for most of my working life pre children, in a full time capacity, and then when I had our first child I started working part time. I felt this was still a little restricting over school holidays and decided to start working on a contractual basis with other firms so that I could have the summers off with our son. I was able to change my hours somewhat and be flexible to accommodate being a mum too.
“My husband and I had always wanted to foster a child, and when the call came around 5 years ago to foster a young baby, I decided to stop working to be with our children at home, be available for social workers, and care for them both full time.”
WHAT DID YOU DO DURING YOUR CAREER BREAK?
We decided to adopt our fostered daughter and I spent over 4 years at home with my kids. During this time I set up my own successful childminding business from home, which allowed me the space to care for my own children whilst caring for others’ children, and earning an income.
HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE INSURANCE RETURNERS PROGRAMME AND WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO RETURN TO WORK?
It was only till April 2021 when I was doing some research on LinkedIn and I saw an ad for Inclusivity and returning to work, that it triggered my interest to look into this more and understand what returner programmes were.
All my experience with recruiters up to this point, had been unsupportive especially once I had mentioned I had been out of work for a few years. It was so disheartening, and discouraging.
WHAT WAS THE EXPERIENCE LIKE GOING THROUGH THE RETURNER PROGRAMME AND RETURNING TO WORK?
After chatting to Stephanie, founder of Inclusivity, she reassured me that my skillset was still current, and I was employable. She empowered me and made me feel worthy. I had felt hopeless up until this point and Stephanie sent through potential roles matching my experience, and she organised my interviews for my current role at Axis Capital, where I work permanently in a full time capacity.
Emma Ferres is also absolutely amazing, she has coached me through the process, and given me tools and tips on how to navigate sticky situations.
“Axis Capital, have treated me as an equal to my other colleagues and I’m grateful that my manager had the confidence in me, that he took the leap of faith, and helped empower other woman.”
ANY ADVICE FOR OTHERS ON RETURNING TO WORK AFTER A CAREER BREAK?
- Believe that you are employable again.
- Know your market rate and worth.
- Never make excuses for taking time out. It is not a crime to take a career break and do something that you want to do.
The Insurance Industry 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.