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Where did my maternity leave go?

Where did my maternity leave go?

Does this sound familiar?

After child one, two, three or four (in fact, who’s counting?!) your maternity leave happens to extend into a career break, which leads to you becoming a full time mum and thus starts a blur of school runs, a feeling all you’re doing is constantly feeding your tribe and the fear you’ll never be capable or have the time to step back into the workplace?

Any of that ring true?

This was certainly the case for Rachel Humphreys, mum to a three, eight and ten year old, who found herself as a stay at home mum having not returned to work after becoming pregnant with her youngest child in early 2015.

Rachel had found herself going back to work after the birth of her first two children but being offered redundancy before her third was due seemed too good an opportunity to pass up. In her own words, “after she was born time seemed to fly and it got to the point that it wasn’t really maternity leave anymore!”

Concerned that juggling a busy household wouldn’t leave any extra time for a job, Rachel was still intrigued when she saw the Shell Returner programme advertised. When a friend also forwarded her the same details, she thought she’d better apply. At no point did she think she would be successfully selected to take part in the programme.

But, regardless of her self-doubt, she was chosen.

As soon as she started the programme she knew she’d made the right decision. When asked about how she has found it, she responded:

“Mostly it has involved doing a normal job (as you’d hope) but it’s great to have the catch ups and support from Shell HR and the other people on the Returnship, as well as the support and coaching from Inclusivity. I’ve certainly not felt like I had no-one to talk if I had a problem or anything I wanted to run past someone.”

She has found Shell incredibly welcoming and has settled quickly.

When asked if she would recommend the Shell Returner programme to others, she responded:

“Absolutely. There is nothing to lose, even if you don’t enjoy it enough to want to try for a permanent role, or you realise that it doesn’t work for your situation for whatever reason, at least you will have some new recent experience. I like the fact that it was not a guaranteed role at the end of the 6 months, it meant no pressure to feel you had to take a job, and in fact looking round was fully encouraged. And if you are lucky enough to get a permanent role then you can feel very proud to have got it on merit.”


The support from Stephanie Dillon at Inclusivity Partners has also proved invaluable with Rachel commenting:

“When I was first offered the returnship, Stephanie had some great ideas and gave me the confidence to ask for what would work for me. Shell was very accommodating here too. Also the interview process was great, the first step being a call with Stephanie from Inclusivity which again was done in a very confidence boosting and useful way. Even if I hadn’t got any further than that the feedback was incredibly helpful.”

The Shell 2019 Returner Programme has now launched and is open for applications.

You could find yourself in a similar situation to Rachel with a new-found confidence and positive choices to make. What are you waiting for?