Jointly hosted with the Women Returners network, the event offered detailed insights into the programme, together with overviews of life and work at Capgemini and opportunities for networking.
The Return@Capgemini programme offers a paid, six-month placement with the possibility of a permanent role at its conclusion. It is open to talented professionals who have taken a career break for two or more years. There is no requirement of having worked for Capgemini in the past.
Last Thursday’s event was launched by Capgemini UK Chairman Christine Hodgson and Paul Margetts, CEO – Application Services UK, together with HR Director Frances Duffy. A total of almost 60 years working at Capgemini between them spoke volumes, but they each outlined the qualities that make our company special and – in many ways – unique in our industry. As Christine pointed out, Capgemini is a meritocracy and people are our only assets.
Together with Frances, Julianne Miles, Co-founder of Women Returners took the stage next. They provided an overview of Julianne’s organisation and of our Return@Capgemini programme, placing it in the context of our Active Inclusion initiative. Their presentation was followed by a panel discussion that featured two returners who have been involved in our pilot scheme (Geraldine Lewis and Sara Matthewan), as well as Anouska Ramsay, UK Head of Talent and Delivery Director Dominic Hayes.
For Geraldine in particular, the scheme has offered a way back into the career she loves after encountering frustration and dead ends with recruitment agencies and other established approaches. Indeed, at one point she had become a handywoman, backing up her DIY skills with a City & Guilds qualification! She spoke movingly of what it means to her to be able to use her skills and experience from her previous career as a self-employed project office manager/consultant in her newly-acquired role in Technology Services. Having overcome many challenges in recent years, she summed up her approach to the audience, saying: “only you will limit yourselves.”
“Rebuilding your professional identity”
After lunch, the attendees were given practical guidance in making the transition from the roles they had played when taking time away from their careers back to professional life. For most this will represent a dramatic change in identity and managing this effectively can be challenging. Women Returners’ Julie Perrin, a professional coach and former management consultant offered a range of established tools and strategies to make the transition as smooth and effective as possible.
The attendees were then invited to craft their own professional introductions before pairing off and testing them on each other.
In the final session, Stephanie Bishop, our Head of Graduate and Apprentice recruitment outlined the possible paths to applying for a position at Capgemini. If you want to find out more, visit our Return@Capgemini page.
Anouska summed up the ambitions of the day – and of this new programme – by saying that returners represent a “talent pool that we have not tapped into well enough”. This new programme aims to correct that and, judging from the day’s attendance, it has more than struck a chord!