Wendy Papworth Director, Global Diversity and Inclusion Barclays Group HR tells us about Barclays Welcome Back Programme – Supporting senior women to resume their careers after long term absence
What is it?When women (and men) take a long career break, it can be hard to know how to return to employment. Barclay’s return-ship scheme, Welcome Back, is aimed at exactly those women and men. It consists of a 12 week paid internship that helps to open doors, create networks and support individuals every step of the way as they re-discover their place within work.
Whose it for?
The Welcome is designed for senior women (and men) who:
· Have taken a multi-year career break
· Are exploring ways to return to work
· Are unsure about how best to reconnect with an employer
· No previous experience in financial services is required
What does it involve?
· A 12 week placement where individuals join a team to work on a live project that’s matched to their experience, capabilities and aspirations
· Structured networking opportunities and learning workshops
· Focused inductions to support each participant as they begin the programme.
· High impact learning sessions, including CV and interview skills workshops, designed to encourage easy networking.
· Support from a senior mentor, line manager and Welcome Back coach. The opportunities to connect and speak to colleagues.
· Access to additional internal coaching
I’d been self-employed for over 10 years as an HR specialist consultant for SMEs. After my third child, I did a Masters in Employment Law and that has become my specialist. Working from home has its pros and cons, but it can become quite isolating. So I decided I wanted to change my working life. I wanted to work in a team with people again, so I started looking around for a woman returner programme.
I’ve actually worked at Barclays before, I originally joined the Management Development programme. So when a friend pointed me towards the Barclays Welcome Back Programme it sounded perfect.
Right from the very start I really loved it. To come in and get such high quality training and development was amazing. One of the biggest advantages of the programme was the unflagging support of your mentor-someone who was really senior in the bank who championed me. These people were so generous with their time. My mentor boosted my confidence and gave me encouragement to apply in certain directions.
The training has been exceptional. I was particularly impressed by a presentation course. All 6 of us were in the same room getting feedback on how we presented ourselves as female leaders in a predominantly male environment. It was brilliant- I could see my colleagues, and myself, getting transformed in just half a day. It was really fun and highly effective.
I’m currently working with the Offshore Banking team until October providing HR support to a big project. At the end of this I want to take all over learned onto another project. I feel I have been able to raise my aspirations – Im no longer looking for just a job. I believe that I could be a leader in Barclays.