Divya, Software Engineer, Investec (11.5 year break)
I work in the IX team at Investec. I have two children and took an eleven-and-a-half year career break before joining the team through the Return to Work programme.
The opportunity to re-start my career was meant to be. After eleven-and-a-half years as a stay-at-home Mum, I interviewed and was hired by Investec within a week. Now, I’m part of the team.
I left school in India at a time when we got our first home computer and as a result became fascinated with technology. I worked for an ICT firm for eight years before relocating to the UK and having two children.
Like for many women, motherhood was my focus for a long time but when my children started secondary school, I felt that I’d lost part of my identity. If you’re not careful you can lose your self-confidence, so I think it’s important to push yourself forward before fear gets the better of you. ‘I want to say to anyone thinking of returning to work after a career break that ‘you can do it too’. The challenges seem much greater in your head.
To join Investec I had my first interview in 19 years. It was daunting but that first meeting started with a group discussion alongside other applicants and it helped me relax. Investec recognised that I hadn’t worked on their current digital systems, so I was able to do my skills test in the coding language that I was familiar with. I had time to prepare and guides to help me so I could confidently show my potential.
Nearly two months on and life has changed for the better. There’s a lot of support available for employees but on a day-to-day basis work is assigned to me equally and that’s the way it should be. I think some people do wonder if having a family makes someone less committed to work, but I haven’t experienced that here. My career break has given me new skills. I work efficiently and can multi-task precisely because I’ve got other priorities at home.
For this reason, my work/life balance has been good too. As for my family – they’re excited for me. My children are studying computing at school and say ‘Mum’s a coder!’ Now they ask me to help them with their homework.