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Nina’s Story: Returning to Tech at Softcat


Nina, Product and Onboarding Manager (20 year break)

Prior to my career break, I worked in Investment Banking Technology, mainly Front Office Equities IT, as a Trading Floor Support Analyst and then moved on to Business Analysis. I made the decision to give up my career to focus on bringing up our children when we started our family. Although it didn’t seem like it, my career break was for 20 years – life was extremely busy bringing up 4 kids! I did some temporary part time jobs as an HR administrator, bookkeeper, office manager and helped with a family retail jewellery business. During the pandemic, I designed & developed a much-needed website for this company. I also volunteered to contact vulnerable people affected by the pandemic on a regular basis which I am still very much a part of.

As soon as my youngest son was in secondary school, I felt the time was right for me to get back to professional work. I missed being in Tech and always wanted to return to restart my career.

It was really, really difficult finding a new role post-career break. I had unsuccessfully applied for so many different positions. Then I heard that some companies were hiring returners and found Women Returners, which had some useful, insightful information and current opportunities on the website. This is where I found Softcat. I applied for the Tech Starter Programme and was contacted very quickly. I really liked the fact that throughout the whole hiring process they kept me informed.

The support I have been given by Softcat, as a tech starter, has been invaluable from day one. It’s a great programme specifically designed to retrain me in IT skills, as well as soft skills, for my role as a Product and Onboarding Manager. I have regular sessions with my mentor and with Learning and Development, who have been fantastic in my learning journey providing me with all the support I need.

It was absolutely brilliant to be back at work and finally do something for me while achieving my goal to return to Tech. I am enjoying learning, being involved and collaborating with my work colleagues and other teams. Despite my long career break, I realised that I still had skills to bring to the table. I feel reassured now and I am positive about my future at Softcat.

It’s been 10 months since I joined and I have loved every minute of my journey.  I have moved on from basic monitoring tasks towards a more pro-active client facing product role. Softcat has a great culture – friendly, supportive, fun and diverse are just a few words to describe it!

My advice to those who are trying to get back to work after a career break:

  • Take advantage of the opportunities that are out there, specifically designed for returners, which prepare you for the world of work! For me this was the best pathway.
  • Don’t be put off by a career gap! I was told by a lady at a recruitment company hiring returners that my break was far too long, and they wouldn’t even consider me. I was so disappointed and frustrated. But I didn’t allow myself to be put off by her or anyone else.
  • Don’t give up! Stay focussed, be determined and keep going. Believe in your skills and what you have to offer!


For details of current opportunities with the Softcat Tech Starter programme see here