What is a Returners Programme?

What is a returners programme? Find out how to return to work after a career break. Discover training programmes and how to get involved and get back to work.

Did you leave your job to bring up your children and are now trying to get back to work? Do you struggle to explain career gaps in your CV and has it cost you a great new job opportunity? You're not alone. Anyone who's had to take a career break for various reasons - ranging from caring duties to redundancy - has had to deal with some form of employment bias.

A Returners Programme aims to break this bias and help people with career breaks get back to work.

In this blog we’ll cover:

  • What is a Returners Programme?
  • What is a Returner?
  • What Can You Expect from a Returners Programme?
  • How to Find a Returners Programme?
  • What Courses are Offered on FDM’s Returners Programme?
  • Who is Eligible to Apply to a Returners Programme?
  • Some of our Returner Stories
  • When do Back to Work Schemes Open?
  • How to Apply to a Returners Programme?
  • What are the Benefits of the FDM Returners Programme?
  • How Does the Training Part of the Returners Programme Work?
  • What Makes FDM Group’s Returners Programme Different from the Rest?

What is a Returners Programme?

A Returners Programme is a bespoke training programme intended for those returning to work after a career break. Various return to work schemes are being offered by both private and public sector enterprises to support experienced professionals on their journey back to work. Whether you took a break or were furloughed, our Returners Programme offers specialised training followed by placement with our industry-leading clients to work as part of their teams.

What is a Returner?

A returner is anyone who’s had to take a career break of at least 12 months. Returners can be parents who left the workforce to bring up children. They could be people who were made redundant or decided to become self-employed. A majority of returners are typically over 40 and are looking for opportunity for retraining at 40.

What Can You Expect from a Returners Programme?

On a Returners Programme you can expect to be trained in new skills and update existing ones. Back to work schemes are specifically designed to help you regain confidence to get back in the workplace with a combination of hard and soft skills. It aims to match skilled people to the right job opportunities and mitigate the stigma of a career break.

How to Find a Return to Work Programme?

Networking is one of the best ways to find new opportunities if you’re planning a return to work. Reach out to your old contacts in the industry including friends and ex-colleagues and seek their advice – both about existing roles as well as any pointers on skills you need to improve your chances of being hired. Job boards and recruiters are now increasingly advertising jobs for returners.

Several companies now offer back to work schemes. Consider applying directly to these programmes either on LinkedIn or on the company website.

FDM is a market leader in helping returners transition back into the workforce. Our renowned Returners Programme aims to refresh and expand your existing skill set, ensuring you feel fully confident to return to the workplace and prepare you for your new role as an FDM consultant. 

What Courses are Offered on the Returners Programme?

On the FDM Returners Programme, you could work on leading edge digital transformation projects, cloud computing, data migration, creating new platforms, or delivering business process improvements.

We currently offer three upskilling pathways on our Returners Programme:

  1. Business Course
  2. Technical Course
  3. Amazon Web Services- Cloud Practitioner

1. Business Course

The Returners Business Programme is a 7-week course of commercially relevant business and technical training, including access to PRINCE2 and SCRUM Master certifications. All our training is currently online. Over 7 weeks, we provide a combination of upskilling as well as reskilling in new methodologies. Our weekly modules will cover a wide range of topics including Business Analysis, Financial Industry Awareness (FIA), introduction to Agile/Scrum, Project Support Office and Project Management Framework.

Essential experience and criteria: 

To be eligible for a place on our Business Course, you need:

  • Minimum one-year career break 
  • Five years of previous business experience 
  • A strong aptitude and interest in business 
  • Be able to commit to working with FDM for two years once the seven-week training period is complete 
  • Be able to work full time 

2. Technical Course

The Returners Tech Programme is dynamic 14-week course for returners provides up-skilling in current and emerging technologies, enabling returners to refamiliarize themselves with current industry best practices and to update their technical knowledge ready for deployments with our clients. 

On this course you will receive both instructor-led and project-based training in object-oriented Java development concepts. The modules will also cover UNIX, SQL, Data Access, JavaScript, Spring/Spring Boot, Agile/Scrum and a final Group Project using the course learnings including workflow optimisation with Kanban Board and Common programming practices such as Paired Programming, Test-driven Development, Refactoring, Code Coverage, Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment & Development.

After training you will have the opportunity to work with one of our industry-leading clients in a Mid-Senior Developer role for a minimum of two years.   

Essential experience and criteria:  

  • Looking to return to work after a break in your career  
  • Minimum one-year career break  
  • 3+ years software engineering or development experience 
  • Be able to work full time  
  • Be able to commit to working with FDM for two years once the training period is complete  

3. Amazon Web Services- Cloud Practitioner

The Returners Programme - AWS is an opportunity for returners to enter the Cloud space within a project management role. You will work with technical teams to create Cloud business solutions, responsible for project management and successful delivery. 

This is a 10- week fully-funded course in Cloud computing. The training has been developed in partnership with AWS re/Start to offer a complete skills development programme for returners who are looking to restart their career working in the Cloud sector. No previous experience in Cloud is required

Upon completion of the AWS Cloud and IT Fundamentals online training, you will become an AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner. You will receive SCRUM Master and AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certifications and have the opportunity to work with one of our industry-leading clients as a Project Manager, Senior Business Analyst or technical lead within a Cloud Engineering team. 

Essential experience and criteria required: 

  • Looking to return to work after a break in your career 
  • Minimum one-year career break 
  • 5 years commercial/technical/business experience (no previous experience in Cloud required) 
  • Interest in tech projects and a desire to step into a new and emerging industry 
  • Be able to work full time 
  • Be able to commit to working with FDM for two years once the ten-week training period is complete 

Who is Eligible to Apply to a Returners Programme?

To qualify for the programme, applicants must have had a minimum of 12 months of career break and 5 years relevant industry experience. There is no upper limit to the length of the career break, and this can vary significantly from candidate to candidate. The average career breaks are between 3 – 5 years but some of our returners have career gaps of up to 20 years.   

Read some of our Returner Stories:

When do Back to Work Schemes Open?

Most companies offer back to work schemes once or twice a year. At FDM, applications to our Returner Programme are open year-round. Our rolling start dates provide the flexibility of applying at any time during the year. Find a time that works for you and your return-to-work journey.

How to Apply to a Returners Programme?

There are different ways to apply to a Returners Programme. We would encourage you to attend one of our Open Mornings to find out more about our programme, the different upskilling pathways, and whether this is the right route back to work for you. Sign up to our next Open Morning for Returners.

You can also Apply Online. Simply register on our website and submit your CV to get started. Following your online application, a member of the FDM Returners Team will contact you to discuss next steps and answer any questions you may have.

Here’s some useful information to help you with your Returners Programme application:

What are the Benefits of the FDM Returners Programme?

  • We recruit all year round making it simple for you to start your returner journey at a time that works for you. Most other returner programmes have one or two starts per year. With FDM, there’s much more flexibility on when you can start your career
  • We welcome applicants with career breaks of at least 12 months. So there’s no need to worry about explaining gaps in your CV.
  • Our Returners Programme is specially designed for those who have taken a career break and want to restart their careers at a level suited to their skill set and aspirations.
  • You will be fully supported by our team throughout your career journey with us. Our consultants receive support from our Consultant Experience Partners while working on-site with our clients. Our Consultant Peer Support (CPS) Programme introduces new FDMers to those already working on-site, to help them settle into their new roles.

How Does the Training Part of the Returners Programme Work?

The FDM Returners Programme begins with expert training, designed to reconnect you with your existing skills, refresh your knowledge, update your terminology and equip you with industry-recognised qualifications. It covers professional skills, as well as business and tech specific training, and our agile training style ensures you are prepared for any career path ahead of you.

Once you’ve completed training, you will have the opportunity to showcase your skills working on-site with our leading clients. Many returners go into Business Analysis or Project Management roles, however if you come from a legal, training, financial or accounting background, we will help find a role to best suit you.

The training on the Returners Programme is led by specialist trainers and will help you develop practical and professional skills to prepare you for the workplace.

What makes FDM Group’s Returners Programme Different from the Rest?

FDM Group is a global leader in the recruit, train and deploy sector, specialising in technology.  We work in partnership with our clients to help with their technology projects and to fill specialty skills gaps in their teams. We look at a broad range of factors during our application process, not just degree type or university. We focus on the potential of candidates and what they can bring to a role to make a real difference.

What sets FDM’s Returners Programme apart is that it provides a much greater opportunity to work with industry-leading clients than most other programmes. With FDM, you have the opportunity to gain invaluable commercial experience with our prestigious clients and kick-start an exciting career.

The best part about FDM’s Returner Programme is that we put our consultants in the perfect position for career growth. When your two-year commitment with FDM ends, there are a number of exciting options. You can stay with FDM and progress to become a Senior Consultant. You may also transition to the client as part of their permanent team.

Are you interested in training for a career in business or tech? You can do so on our award-winning Returners Programme.

Here are some more useful resources if you’re planning a return to work:

About Preeta Ghoshal

Preeta is a content writer with over 10 years’ experience across print, digital and broadcast media. She has worked extensively in multi-media content creation. Her work reflects a mix of subject matter research and storytelling to produce content that is both informative and easily digestible. She is presently providing content support to each of the FDM programmes and the wider marketing team.

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