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Accenture has launched a new returners programme for people who want to return to the workplace after taking time out.
The programme, named Break|Through, will help people who have taken a career break to re-enter the workplace through training and mentoring, and aims to help increase the gender balance in the IT industry.
Zahra Bahrololoumi, managing director for Accenture Technology in the UK and Ireland, explained that as changes in technology can happen so rapidly, it can be difficult for those who have taken a career break to return to work.
But diversity makes tech teams more innovative, and though the programme is open to everyone, it is often women who take time off from work and find it difficult to come back.
“Bringing together people with diverse life experiences and perspectives makes us more innovative, and our Break|Through programme will let us tap into a new pool of talented professionals beyond our traditional recruitment channels,” said Bahrololoumi.
As part of the Break|Through programme, Accenture will offer participants a 10-week paid placement at Accenture Technology to help build tech skills, and some will be offered a permanent role with Accenture when the placement is finished, in roles such as technical architect, business analyst, delivery lead, DevOps engineer, enterprise agile coach and test lead.
Martha Lane-Fox has previously claimed that women who are currently out of work could be a good resource if trained to fill the current skills gap. A lack of digital skills in the UK is costing the UK economy £63bn a year.
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Accenture’s programme, aimed at those who have been away from the workplace for more than two years, is looking for people who are passionate about tech, have the ability to learn and possess project management skills.
Those who do not go on to secure a role at Accenture will receive a training certificate as proof of the skills gained during the programme.
The first five weeks of the placement will be focused on completing an intensive training programme to learn the skills needed for potential future roles, followed by five weeks working on an Accenture Technology project with internal teams.
Women can often lack confidence in their abilities, and imposter syndrome, a phenomena whereby accomplished individuals doubt their skills, is commonly associated with women in the technology industry. Mentors and personal networks can often help people overcome these doubts.
Each candidate will be given a mentor from Accenture for help and guidance through the process.
Applicants do not need to have had previous experience in tech, but Accenture would like for them to have had some previous exposure to tech and tech transformation.
Maternity leave linked to pay gap
There is a significant pay gap between men and women both in and outside the technology industry – something many believe maternity leave contributes to.
Since Break|Through will attract people from different backgrounds, Accenture cannot guarantee the participants will re-enter the workplace with the same level position or pay as previously, but hope those involved will gain a role that reflects the level of experience and skill they have held before the programme.
The ability to adapt and learn new skills will become increasingly important in the technology industry in the future as technology continues to disrupt industries, making continuous learning a vital skill.