May 2022

Supporting mums return to work after career breaks

We recently welcomed Jade Perry and Michelle Willis to #TeamPelican for four weeks as part of the amazing initiative 'Women’s Work Lab', which aims to encourage mums back into the workplace after a career break.

We caught up with the two women to find out a little more about their time with us – and hear their advice for other mums in their position.

Women smiling at Pelican's office

What is the number one takeaway from your time here?

Michelle: For me, it has to be how kind and welcoming everyone is here. Pelican really care about their people and their families, supporting each other and the work they do. That feeling of togetherness runs across every floor and department without fail.

I know I speak for us both when I say that the support we’ve had here has been second to none – putting on a ‘mini academy’ just for us said it all about what it means to be part of #TeamPelican! They have made us feel so valued.

Jade: If I had to sum it up in three words, it’s support, flexibility, teamwork. Like Michelle, I’m struck by how welcoming, friendly and supportive everyone has been. The mini academy is such a fantastic way of welcoming new colleagues to the business; we were eased in gently rather than thrown in at the deep end and felt like part of the team from day one.

I’d also like to mention the mental health support – having Mental Health First Aiders available when needed is a strong message to send. There is the recognition that people have commitments and a life outside work, and that, if they are struggling, it’s ok to speak to someone.

What have you most enjoyed during your four weeks with Pelican? Is there a particular highlight from your time with us?

Jade: My highlight is spending time with Pelican’s Working Parents’ Network. I found hearing perspectives from other parents so empowering, once again giving us the feeling that we’re all in this together as parents. I’m amazed by how united everyone seems here, which shows how valued people feel – the culture seems very authentic rather than something that you simply read on the website. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved in different activities and celebrate successes, and people have a say in the day to day running of the business – you can tell that the people have a voice and feel heard. From my four weeks here, I can see that #TeamPelican is a happy place. Nothing sums that up more than the music videos seeing everyone having fun together, even while working from home during lockdown!

Michelle: Having been out of work for almost 17 years, I have most enjoyed the feeling of having a routine again, and feeling part of the team.

I was so inspired by the time we spent with one Team Leader, who had brought up two children as a single mum and managed to progress her career at the same time. She has been at Pelican for over 14 years, which just goes to show that it is possible in today’s workplace to have a successful career as a mum.

What piece of advice would you give to other women in a similar position, looking to get back into the workplace?

Jade: Although today’s world of work may look different to when you were last working, embrace it and go into it with an open mind. Spend some time researching the company values and social media pages to get a feel for what life is really like behind the scenes and see what they have to offer. Until my time with Pelican, I hadn’t realised that it was ok to have time out of your work day for ‘non work’ things like the Working Parents’ Network, or that you could job share with the flexibility to work around your home life.

The workplace is not as scary as you might think – especially if all companies adapt their environment and are as accommodating as Pelican have been.

When women support each other, incredible things happen!

Michelle: I would say try to push away the doubts because being a mum can seem like a full-time role of its own, yet being out of work can lead to self-doubt. My advice would be to go for it if you’re considering applying for a Women’s Work Lab placement, or getting back into work after a career break. This has been a truly life changing experience for us!

Read more about what it’s like to be part of #TeamPelican by visiting our careers page.