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7 October 2015

back2businesship 2015: can employers afford not to?

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by Jo Godfrey.

I have spent the last five years undertaking the most challenging role of my life to date. The pay is lousy, the hours are long and the clients are stroppy. Still motherhood has many rewards and after five years as a full-time mother I am ready to return to my career in corporate communications. The question is how do I do this and retain enough of a balance to still fulfil my childcare commitments?

As I pondered this conundrum over the summer, I came across an invitation to apply for the back2businessship course sponsored by f1 recruitment, SMG and Golin. I had heard of returnships, the new wave of internships for returning mothers, but this was one step further, a course to prepare returners from the world of media, communications and marketing to re-join the workforce. The scheme even offers an additional opportunity to apply for paid-placements at the end of the course. I jumped at the chance of joining the programme and over the last few weeks I have not been disappointed.

Three weeks since the course began, I find myself addressing my return to work with a renewed sense of vigour. The course has provided invaluable opportunities to expand my network and to hear from industry leading women who are already successfully juggling their careers and home lives.

The workshops have encouraged me to recognise how valuable my skills are to employers. Not only those skills which I honed over fifteen years working in corporate communications, but also those which have been fine-tuned whilst project managing the demands of a new baby, a toddler and a busy household.

The course has laid bare the developments in social media that have occurred during my absence from the workplace. At first glance these seemed daunting but I now see them as an opportunity, a communications channel to be embraced not feared.

When speaking to my friends about my desire to return to work on a flexible basis, I have been met by the sharp intakes of breath that normally accompany an expensive car repair quote.

So can women returners have it all? Can they find challenging and interesting roles in their chosen professions and still demand flexible working? I believe that they can.

The back2businessship course has opened my eyes to the number of talented women, over twenty on this course alone, who are willing and eager to return to work but are struggling to identify opportunities to do so on a flexible basis. The question should not be can these women find jobs but can employers afford not to find a way to utilise these bright and experienced women?

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