Returnship Q&A: The employer’s perspective

As Thames Tideway Tunnel’s new Returner Programme deadline approaches next Friday, Women Returners interviewed Tideway’s Head of HR, Julie Thornton, to get her perspective on the business rationale for launching this innovative returnship, together with some information and advice for would-be applicants. 
WR: What is your motivation for setting up the Tideway
Returner Programme? What is the appeal of returning professionals to your
JT: As a company, we are looking to increase the diversity
of our workforce and this seemed an ideal way of doing so. Thames Tideway
Tunnel is very active with early careers activities, graduates and
apprenticeships, and the Returner Programme gives
us the opportunity to fill an obvious gap – targeting
and encouraging individuals who want to get back to a career after
taking a break. We see returning professionals as a
strong female talent pool which we are keen to access.
WR: What can participants expect on the programme?
JT: They will experience a fulfilling role within the
project, at an exciting time in our history as we move towards actually
starting construction after more than 10 years of planning. They will also be
fully supported by the management team to get them up to speed, have a
dedicated mentor and receive expert coaching and support from Women Returners.
WR: Is your organisation expanding? Will there be ongoing job
opportunities after the programme?
JT: In brief, yes. There are lots of vacancies currently
on the project and there will continue to be over the coming months so this is
an ideal time for people to join the project, get a feel for what we are about
and apply for the roles they are interested in.
WR: In what other ways does Thames Tideway Tunnel support the
careers of female employees?
JT: Our CEO, Andy Mitchell, is committed to achieving
gender parity over the life of the project, and it is clear that to achieve this, we
need to be a company that all people want to work for. We
are focusing on getting the basics right, taking
the values we promote, particularly flexible and inclusive working, through to
practice. We also support employee-driven activities through our
inclusivity forum, Encompass, which runs networking
events and actively helps inform potential new policies or programmes.
WR: Do you see this programme as a one-off?
JT: No we are very much committed to making The Tideway Returner Programme a regular part of our
overall resourcing and diversity plan. This is just the start of something we
hope to see long into the future.
WR: How can people find out more and apply?
JT: Please visit for more information and details on how to apply.
What advice would you give to prospective applicants?
A: If you are intrigued or interested, send in your CV
because you have nothing to lose! Even if you aren’t successful on the
programme there may be other opportunities we can consider you for in the
Posted by Julianne

Morgan Stanley launches UK ‘returnship’ programme

We are delighted to report a new UK ‘returnship’ programme.

Morgan Stanley has just launched the Return to Work Programme London, a paid 12–week internship for professionals who have taken a career break and are looking to re-enter the workforce on a permanent basis.

Note: application deadline is Sunday 15th June 2014

The programme is based principally at the Firm’s London offices

24 September – 17 December 2014

Participants will be placed based on their skills and interests. A limited number of opportunities exist across the Firm in Commodities, Fixed Income, Finance, Global Capital Markets, Human Resources, Institutional Equities, Internal Audit, Investment Banking, Investment Management, Legal and Compliance, Operations, Research and Technology. On completion of the Programme, participants may receive an offer of permanent employment.

Qualifications, Skills and Requirements

  • Around five years or more experience in the financial services industry or other relevant areas
  • Interested in returning to the workforce on a permanent basis
  • Excellent leadership, interpersonal and communication skills
  • Problem solvers with strong analytical skills
Application Process and Deadlines
For further information and to apply see
The deadline is Sunday 15 June, 2014.
Posted by Julianne

Morgan Stanley London launches Return to Work workshop

Returnship programmes are taking off in the UK! Companies are recognising that returning
professionals are a strong talent pool and may need support to get back into
corporate roles.

Morgan Stanley have just announced a Return to Work workshop on 20th May, [note 5/5/14: applications closed] prior to launching their own ‘returnship’ programme in September.

Morgan Stanley’s workshop is targeted at professionals who:

  • have been out of the workforce for over 2 years, particularly those who have been caring for their family
  • have prior experience in financial services or a related professional field

The workshop will run from 10am-4pm at the Morgan Stanley office in London E14 and will include sessions on CV writing, preparing for interviews and networking. The workshop is focused on building up confidence and skills in preparation for applications and recruitment processes.

To apply send your CV and a covering letter explaining why you would like to participate in the workshop to:
The deadline is Monday 5th May. Places are limited and successful applicants will be notified by Monday 12th May.

Posted by Julianne

Returnships arrive in the UK: Credit Suisse Real Returns

We talked about the mutual benefits of returning professional internships (returnships) for returners and employers back in November. At that time we couldn’t identify any UK initiatives – all were US/India based. So we are delighted to report that the first UK returnship has just been launched by Credit Suisse in London – hopefully the first of many.

Real Returns: Restart Your Career At Credit Suisse

The Real Returns programme will run for 8-10 weeks starting on April 28th 2014 and is aimed at experienced professionals returning to the workplace after an extended absence. The application deadline is February 21st 2014 so if you’re interested, you’ll need to get an application in quickly.

The programme includes:

  • A short-term project-based assignment, working on an important initiative in one of the business areas. Projects will be based on your experience, interests and skills set
  • A series of orientation/training events
  • A programme mentor and a day-to-day project manager
  • The opportunity to broaden your network within your business area and to participate in events hosted by the bank’s diversity networks, including the EMEA Women’s Network and Family Network
For more information, including details of how to apply see: