Sara Myers is a software developer in our IT Department, based at our head office in Letchworth Garden City. She joined through our ‘Welcome Back’ returners’ programme after a career break.

Our Welcome Back programme is a 20-week programme on a fixed-term contract basis that offers work experience along with a coaching programme that includes refresher training and new skills development. For the right candidates, it could lead to the opportunity for a permanent role.

Tell us a bit about your background Sara…

After completing an IT MSc in 1993, I worked for 9 years as a software engineer for BAE Systems, working on Command Systems for submarines. Following this, my husband and I moved to Switzerland and I spent 15 years working as a software engineer for PostFinance, the financial arm of the Swiss Post Office. Our son was born and grew up in Switzerland.

How long was your career break and for what reason?

We moved back to the UK in July 2018, where I had a 16 month break to settle my son into his new school and life in the UK, manage the buying of our new house and everything that goes along with a major life change!

What did you do on the Welcome Back Programme?

During my time on the Welcome Back programme, I was given the opportunity to learn the software development technologies/methodologies used by Willmott Dixon in a stress-free environment with lots of support from my team leader and team colleagues. I was able to apply these new skills by developing a small User Survey application.

As part of the Welcome Back programme, I also attended 3 workshops where everybody on the programme got together to talk about their experiences and to offer support to each other. It was great to feel part of a group of people going through the same thing and who could offer practical suggestions to our various issues. Support was also provided by the Group People team who created a safe environment in the workshops where we could open up and say how we felt.

How did the Welcome Back Programme help you?

The Welcome Back programme has given me a great job working for great company!

Before the programme I was worried that my technical skills would be outdated and that after working in Switzerland for 15 years I would struggle to fit back into a UK working environment. But I needn’t have worried as I am being given all the training I need and everybody at Willmott Dixon has been kind, friendly and supportive. Also, due to Willmott Dixon’s agile working policy, it’s possible to have a great work/life balance.

Tell us a bit about your role now…

I am now a member of the IT department working as a software developer in the Pre-Con & Ops team. My responsibilities include investigating problem tickets and making changes to our applications as requested by our Users. I especially enjoy talking to our Users as it’s interesting to learn about their roles and how our software applications support them in their work.

What advice would you give anyone who is thinking about applying for our Welcome Back Programme?

I would advise anybody to apply to the Welcome Back programme. At worst you will get 20 weeks of invaluable experience, and at best you might get a job with a great company that really invests in their people.

If you know anyone who has been on a career break and looking to get back into employment – we have the right opportunity for them! Find out more here.