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Tips for mums returning to work when children go to school

Having settled your child into school now is often the time when mums start to think about returning to work. Juggling work and children is a constant balancing act so it can sometimes be difficult to find opportunities that present the flexibility to work two days a week or to start at 10am, after you have completed the school run and finish at 230pm, so you can be at the school gates for pick up. You might possibly be unsure of what options are open to you, since you may have lost enthusiasm for your pre-children career. Many mums see returning to work after a break to raise young children as an opportunity to consider a change in career or to set up their own small business, where they can dictate their own place and hours of work.

Experience presents value for money to employers so be confident in your skills and experience

If you have a number of years’ experience under your belt, prior to having children, you can have confidence that employers will value that experience when compared with new graduates or school leavers. As a result they may be willing to consider offering you flexible working terms such as a job share, a combination between home and office working, the ability to stack hours during term-time to leave time-off during the school holidays or the ability to start at 10am after the school run and leave in time for school pick up in the afternoon.

When applying for jobs, consider carefully in advance how the logistics of your juggling the role with your child commitments would work in practical terms, so if challenged on the subject during interview, you can highlight that you have a well-thought through plan in place, to enable you to deliver the role reliably and with full commitment. Think carefully for example about what you might do if one of your children were suddenly ill at school. Do you have family or friends who could step in if you had a work commitment that could not be re-arranged? Many more employers are happy to consider flexible working terms if it gives them access to the right experience for a role, but our education advice for parents is that you must be clear and organised in presenting your case as to how you will deliver.

Specialist recruitment firms

Firms such as ten2two offer flexible working options for women. They offer advice and guidance to employers on how to offer flexible packages to women with children so if you talk to their consultants, you can be reasonably sure that an employer will be happy to engage you through their recruitment services. Remember it is not the job seeker that pays for these services; it is the employer, so you can often get some very useful advice from recruitment companies, who will then assist you to find the right job for your experience, for free.

Franchise opportunities

These are a great way for mums to use their social circle to build an income through a small business entity which already has a proven income model in place. Investing in a franchise means there will already be a product or service and a sales and marketing strategy in place including a website, so mums can very quickly get off the ground with generating an income stream. There is also the benefit of having other franchise holders to act as mentors in how to grow your own franchise and the support of the central business structure provided by the franchisor. Opportunities could either be through running parties at home which promote sales of a particular product such as Neal’s Yard or Jamie and Home, business networking, children’s activity programmes for pre-school age, recruitment services and many more. Websites for identifying potential franchise opportunities are:

Re-training or updating skills

Having been out of the job market for a little while can mean that confidence can be low in terms having the right skills and up-to-date knowledge within the work place for example the use of the most up-to-date I.T systems. There are numerous training courses available to update skills or to re-train in a new career. The best place to start to research these is via your local college:

The Open University courses also offer great opportunities for mums to gain new qualifications through home study that can fit around child commitments.

Our education advice for parents is to spend some time on a recap of skills such as preparing a CV, interview and presentation skills and searching for the right vacancies, which can also be a good idea. The Independent Education Consultants careers team would be more than happy to assist you with this, so contact us to discuss your individual requirements.

Whether your thoughts are towards the availability of local, flexible working opportunities which use your individual skills and experience, or you are thinking of taking a new career direction but are a little unsure which path to take, our careers advisers are here to assist you. Why not gather a few like-minded mums together for a coffee and a Consultancy@Home session around the topic of returning to work? Alternatively, you might like to book a one-to-one personal careers assessment and planning session to set you off on the right track.

Whatever support you need, our consultants are here to provide education advice for parents. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

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