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Relaunching after a decade-long career break

30 Sep 2022

Nikki Sugden tells her story about returning to Capgemini after a 10-year career break, and how she’s now thriving in her new role, 4 years on.

Taking the leap back into work and relaunching your career after a long break can be seriously daunting. After a 10-year career break Nikki Sugden was invited to a Capgemini returners event by a friend.

Nikki talks about her experience with the Capgemini Relaunch returners programme, and how that’s shaped the last 4 years of her career…

“It was nearly 4 years ago that I took the plunge and joined Capgemini on the relaunch programme and safe to say, I haven’t looked back. I had started my career as a developer in Capgemini a long time ago and had progressed to delivery management. I then had a 10-year career break where I almost completely left that role behind.

I can’t even remember why I went to a returner event in Telford, I had felt like returning to the IT world but only as a distant thought. So, when an old friend invited me, I went along more out of idle curiosity. But I suddenly could see that my skills were valued and that here was a pathway that would ease the transition back in.”

Seeing relaunch employees not only ‘survive’ the return to work, but actually thrive at Capgemini, inspired Nikki to join the programme and realise she still had a lot of skills to bring to the table.

“Hearing from others who had been part of the programme and who had survived, no that’s not strong enough, who had THRIVED, made me realise that, yes, I actually wanted to return to this work, and that yes, I had a lot to offer. There were roles available that hadn’t existed 10 years ago and there was one in particular, content designer, that took my eye.”

Nikki felt supported all the way through the process; from learning about the role, submitting the application, and adapting to the new ways of working once she started…no fixed desks and office phones here!

“As part of the application process I had the chance to speak to people in that role, to make sure it was right for me and to ask all those niggling questions I had at the back of my mind. When I joined, I had a buddy to help me set up, and thank goodness I did, because everything had changed so much. When I last worked in an office, I had a fixed desk, with filing cabinets and my own desk phone (yes, it really was a long time ago). I needed a lot of help getting set up and just doing the day to day mundane tasks, like VPNs, Teams, and slack, was all so new to me.”

Finding her confidence and adapting to a new dynamic was a huge step for Nikki. Returning to work alongside family life is a huge adjustment, but Nikki’s coach supported her in navigating this and enabled her to embrace these changes and move forward.

“I had regular sessions with a coach, for which I am so grateful for now. Adapting myself and my family life was hard but being given tools and approaches made it so much easier. I had not thought about how I would present myself and my time away, but the coach taught me to be confident and embrace that part of myself and not to apologise for it but also to show how I was looking forward.”

You might fear that an extended career break will leave your skills and knowledge irrelevant, but take it from Nikki, that is just not the case!

“I look back on this time with a smile; I now see that I didn’t lose any of the skills I had previously built up. I have a breadth of different experience from my time out and am enjoying something different again. I am now looking forward to moving into a more strategic role and because of the size of Capgemini and how the company encourages its employees to move around, I am excited about my next steps.”

If you see an event near you, I would recommend just seeing what it’s all about – who knows where you could be in 4 years’ time!

If you’re currently having a career break of 18 months or more and you’re considering going back to work, then Capgemini’s Relaunch programme could be exactly the opportunity you need to take that first step. You do not need to have worked at Capgemini before to join the programme, it is open to all, providing you are currently having a career break for 18 months or more.

We are hiring across all areas of the business and beyond, and we would love to hear from you.

You can get in touch with us directly for an informal chat here

For all our career opportunities you can visit our careers site here