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Amma’s Story: Returning to Financial Services at Bank of England

Amma Bello Pic

Amma, Senior Supervisor, Bank of England (3 year break)

I joined the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in December 2020 as a Senior Supervisor after a three year career break.

My career break was primarily taken so that I could be a stay at home mum to my three young children. I loved that time I had to be fully present in family time without a demanding career, and my children thrived because of it. My days would often be spent doing the school run, organising playdates, helping the children with homework etc. I experienced all the joy and many of the challenges that come with being a stay at home parent. I had, however, always known that at some point in the future I would want to progress in my career and be both mum and professional again when the balance was right.

Before my career break, my academic and professional path had included my completion of an undergraduate degree at the London School of Economics having been awarded a scholarship to study there; qualifying as a Chartered Accountant and achieving Fellowship status, leading financial audits of large institutions and; working in financial reporting. I credit much of that early academic and professional success to my Dad. I am always inspired by his story; arriving to the UK from Ghana in the 1960s, working multiple jobs to support our family and always being driven to do more. His work ethic and professional aspiration for both himself and family, resonated with me. And so I had always planned to return to work once my youngest son was due to start primary school in 2020.

In 2020 we were all impacted by Covid. For my family however, the pivotal moment in 2020 was not Covid, it was when my dad passed away after his battle with Cancer. We were struck with grief. At the same time, his death gave me a greater focus and motivation to return to work. In June 2020, I decided that it was the right time to move forward in my career and utilise my prior professional experience. I also strongly valued the skills I had developed whilst on my career break; I had engaged in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses over the three years I was at home, volunteered in the community, and developed  many additional soft skills through daily life. Finding an organisation and role where I could show up to work authentically, with all the skills I had,  was essential to adding my full value to a team.

I came across a Women Returners email, and had seen that the Bank of England were recruiting. I set to work researching the Bank and role, and recognised early on that it would be a good fit. I found the recruitment process tough; making that mental switch between all things motherhood to professional conversation again took some getting used to. I had a strong network of support including family and friends from different professional backgrounds who took time to look over my CV, discuss technical points, offer  professional opinions etc. It was a boost to my confidence and invaluable. My application to the Bank moved through the recruitment process; I had my first interview with the Bank in July 2020; and I joined the Bank in December 2020.

Returning to work during the Pandemic was certainly tough, at times daunting, but overall, going back to work has been a positive experience. Support from Women Returners in terms of their one-to-one and group coaching sessions; having access to, and support from a network of other returners; as well as having supportive colleagues, has been instrumental in creating a smoother transition back to work. If I could share advice with anybody wanting to return to work, it would be to focus on what you are trying to achieve, create a plan, and go for it!