'I worked in London and then moved to Australia soon after I qualified, so most of my career was overseas. When my husband and I moved back to Manchester, England, I had 2 small children and no professional contacts in the area.
I decided to take a career-break and work with my husband who was setting up his own business. He’s an artisan baker so we set up a high-quality commercial bakery. I actually loved it and got very involved in the branding, marketing and business end of things. I learnt a lot of new skills and we won awards – the business really took off.
After I’d been out of industry for about 5 years, I started to think, if I was ever going to return, I’d better do it soon. It was tough. I faced a lot of dead-ends and disappointments. I soon realised that recruitment consultants are the gatekeepers to most jobs and because I had got a slightly unusual CV, they weren’t making room for me. I went to an ICAEW event about returning to work after a career-break and that’s when I came across CABA. When I heard about their career coaching I decided to go for it.
It’s a great service – the career coaching. I was allocated a local coach who worked hard to help me. It was great to have someone to think things through with. He encouraged me to think about my contacts from my days in London and to methodically go through the ones I had on LinkedIn. I went down to London for a day and met as many people as I could and got up to speed with what was going on. It was a real confidence boost - it put me back in that world again.
Not long after that, I approached my local university about Associate Lecturer opportunities and I now teach part-time in the business school. I also do some consulting for a firm made up of my previous contacts. I would also like to pursue some independent freelance opportunities, and I am confident that will happen in time.
For me, the main thing I took from the coaching was the space to think strategically about my position and what I wanted to achieve. I felt my coach really cared about me achieving the right outcome and was keen to support me. I used it as a chance to re-build my professional confidence and work out exactly what I wanted to achieve.'