Women returning to work after career breaks is harder than ever. Find out more about our Women Returners Program's success and how you can get...
Corporate Program Success Story: Returning to Work After 10 Year Break
This is the story of how a mum of two, Eilidh McCosh, evolved her skills to return to work with confidence after a 10-year career break.
With the recent launch of our new Evolve program for corporate organizations to prepare their employees for the future of work by upskilling and reskilling them in 21st-century workplace skills, it’s important to highlight the success of one of our key flagship programs, successfully reskilling women returners back into the workplace.
Reskilling Women To Return to Work With Confidence
The Women Returners Programme was developed in partnership with Skills Development Scotland, supporting women who have been out of work for six months or more to restart their career journey. The program focuses on developing 21st-century workplace skills, as well as professional competencies for a multitude of women who felt that they had been out of work for too long to find a pathway back into the working world – no matter how hard they tried.
Below, one of our incredible Women Returners Programme participants, Eilidh McCosh, shares her view on how the program helped build her skills and confidence to find her next opportunity – only to find she then successfully secured a role here at Virtual Internships.
Eilidh’s Story: “It Was One of the Best Things I Have Ever Done”
I’m sharing my back-to-work story as it might help other women who are struggling to do the same thing (or even just considering it). I had been a Mum for 10 years, a homemaker, and all the stuff that goes with it, including the baggy leggings and hoodie-with-a-hole uniform I wore, (unless there was a special occasion). I really wanted to get back into work, actually financially, I needed to get into work. But, I hadn’t a clue where to start.
How can I write a CV that interests an employer when my recent experience is as an Operations Manager of two kids and my references would be written in crayon? The mere idea of a formal interview broke me out in a cold sweat.
I tried but I got nowhere. Tons of job applications later with zero responses, other than standard rejection letters weeks later: “Thank you for your application. Due to the high number and quality of applications, we will not be taking your application further at this time.”
I was beginning to think I was unemployable. I definitely needed help but I didn’t know where to start. Social media to the rescue!
An advert for an online “Women Returners to Work” five-week employability program with Virtual Internships popped up on my social media feed. There would be, amongst other things:
- CV workshops
- Interview skills webinars
- Discussion groups with women who’d successfully gone back to work after career breaks and even pivoted careers
- Individual career coaching
There was also a project: four weeks working with a Host Company. The great thing was it was part-time hours that I could fit around my other commitments, best of all it was free. Skills Development Scotland would pay for it if I met the course requirements.
I was anxious going into this, my confidence was pretty low. I wasn’t sure if this would make a difference to my employability at all. I started the application process but actually stopped at the last hurdle. I was convinced I couldn’t do the project part. I then had a phone call from the team at Virtual Internships. Not to persuade me to sign up but to ask for five minutes of my time for feedback on my decision-making process to help Virtual Internships with course provision in the future. That call turned into a 30-minute chat about the struggles of going back to work, and my situation.
“My fears about the project work were totally removed. I wasn’t going to be dropped into a Host company full time and left to get on with it. We would be divided into small groups, and work together on the project which would be facilitated by a member of the Virtual Internships team. By the end of the call, I had decided to sign up… and it was one of the best things I have ever done.”
I met some amazing women on this course from all over Scotland with a diverse range of backgrounds: there were stories of parenting, carer responsibilities, redundancy, health challenges, mental health challenges, career change needs, relocations, and so on. We hadn’t taken the same route to get there, but we were all women struggling with returning to employment. It was really great to be with a group that understood the situation and it was incredibly supportive.
“As well as some new skills, a shiny CV, and confidence in an interview situation, I now have a new network of supportive women. Something I had never expected. On the employment front, I have had five interviews and two firm work offers in the two months since the course.”
Incredibly one of those offers was with Virtual Internships. Based on the project work I had done with the Host Company, I was offered the role of Marketing Associate. Now I get to connect with other women in a similar situation to myself and let them know they’re not alone. There are resources out there like the Women Returners Programme specifically designed to help. I am an example of the success that this program can have, I can officially say that I have returned to work!
The Problem: Digital Advancement Means People Can Be Left Behind
The digital landscape develops at such lightning speed, that those in employment in roles that don’t demand tech or digital skills, can very easily and very quickly fall behind on having the relevant skills needed to move into the jobs of the future, alongside those currently out of work.
The most in-demand jobs and skills over the next ten years and beyond will involve a shift in workplace development and skills for employees in roles that are at risk of becoming automated or even predicted to no longer exist.
Whilst technological developments mean that a majority of in-demand roles don’t actually yet exist. This is predicted to create both a boom in redundancies and a global talent shortage – which will very quickly become a problem for everyone!
The Solution: World-Class Corporate Training Programs to Upskill and Reskill
That’s why we created Evolve, a world-class corporate training program to upskill and reskill employees with the relevant skills needed to move into 21st-century roles, futureproofing their career journey.
Not only will employees benefit from career development and opportunities to try out new positions that could benefit their next career move, but they will also feel motivated and secure within your organization, knowing that if their current role is no longer required or if they are ready to move onto something new, they can continue to work for you whilst excelling in a new field.
Our Evolve program also includes the option for both in-placement and out-placement opportunities, depending on your business needs. This means your employees can support different departments in your organization or can try something new with our ecosystem of 13,000+ start-ups and SMEs across the globe.
What’s Involved in the Evolve Corporate Program:
- Our award-winning online training program for your employees to develop skills relevant to your business needs
- Career coaching from our team of highly skilled international coaches
- The option of work experience opportunities from one to four months to ensure your employees are confident and ready to take on any new challenges
- Full support from our delivery team, working with you to develop program ideation and implement program execution
- Flexibility on program inclusions, so that you can add in your own sessions that focus on your brand and your story
The Evolve program can be blended directly with your current employee training and development strategies, so just like Eilidh, your employees can build their confidence in new skills and find new opportunities to future-proof their careers, whilst feeling like your organization cares about investing in their future.
Now is the time to invest in evolving your employees’ workplace skills of the future, before your team gets (or feels) left behind.
Find Out More About Evolving Your Organization with Our Corporate Programs
Read all about the program and get in touch for a free consultation call with our corporate strategy team here.