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GB2B’s Jyotika Patel

Jyotika Patel - FDM

When speaking to those who are keen to return to work, one thing we hear again and again is that they’ve spent so long outside of the business and that employers won’t give them a chance.

Our Getting Back to Business Programme is specially designed to suit professionals who have taken time out of work and are keen to rebuild their confidence. Our tailored training builds upon existing experience, refreshing trainees’ skills and knowledge whilst equipping them with the confidence to return to work. As well as professional and technical training, we provide ongoing support whilst our consultants are out onsite with clients to ensure everybody on the Getting Back to Business Programme can make a difference from day one.

Jyotika Patel joined the Getting Back to Business Programme in September 2017 and has gone from strength to strength throughout the academy and on-site. We spoke to Jyotika about her experience at FDM and what it was like to get back into the corporate world after a 17-year career break.

What encouraged you to get back into work?

I left my job in 2001 so that I could support my two daughters. At the time, my husband was working full-time in a demanding job, which required him to travel to and from the USA on a regular basis.  So, I made the decision to leave my job at Aviva. where I had worked for 15 years as a business analyst, to support my family. However, once the girls were a bit older I always intended to return to work, so I decided to start having a look around and apply for a few jobs in my field. In 2014 I passed the BA diploma to refresh my previous experience. However, I found that even with this additional qualification, agencies would focus on the career break, not the transferable skills which I had gained.

After struggling with agencies, what did you do to breakthrough?

I found Women Returners in London and I started going along to their meetings. I came across FDM and after looking at their model and what support they could give me, I applied for a position on their Getting Back to Business Programme. Julie called me and asked if I’d be interested in coming to the FDM centre in London for an assessment. I passed all the interview stages and quickly began my seven-week training course in the Academy. Within three weeks I was placed at the Home Office. My experience of FDM was incredibly positive and their programme is like nothing else I’ve ever come across. I did so much research on ‘return to work’ programmes, but I found that, whereas in other interviews, people only wanted the textbook typical BA graduate, FDM understood my gap and took me under their wing.

How did your time in the academy benefit you?

My biggest hurdle coming into this programme was confidence. FDM not only helped me to prepare for interviews, and to tailor my CV – they also helped me to become accustomed to working life again. Being around people in my class who were in the same career-break situation helped me to develop in leaps and bounds. I just needed to believe in myself, that I could get back into work even after a career break. The trainers were brilliant. The course helped me with my confidence and knowledge in the field, sometimes just in small ways like recognising that technology has changed since I was last employed. Of course, I had to learn programmes like Excel from scratch, but I really just needed that push to take on new challenges.

What’s your top tip for anybody considering returning to work after a lengthy career break?

Don’t hold back! Keep trying to get yourself onto a programme. Even if you receive a rejection, take it as a good thing and always ask for feedback, as this advice could help you to stand out from the rest of the candidates in your next interview. I think it’s also important to remember that you’re on the same wavelength as other people, so don’t feel held back by your age or your career gap. The FDM team gave me a wealth of support and allowed me to work in a team with other people in my position.

Are you looking to get back into the corporate world after a career break? Our Getting Back to Business Programme is here to support you

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