LONDON – Applications are now open for Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s (BofA Merrill) fifth annual UK Returning Talent programme, which aims to help bridge the gap between being a stay-at-home parent or carer and re-entering the workplace. People who have been out of work for a year or more are invited to apply via the company’s careers website. The closing date is 18 December 2015.
BofA Merrill, in partnership with the Executive Coaching Consultancy, is looking to attract individuals from a range of backgrounds including finance, legal and other professional services.
The 2016 programme commences with a conference (1 February 2016) giving 60 participants the opportunity to explore changes in the workplace and attend speaker sessions and workshops, and provides insight into lines of business to increase participants’ knowledge of the company. Thirty attendees will then be selected to attend two full-day workshops (8 and 9 February 2016) designed to support a transition back to work; offer practical guidance on focusing and managing a career search; provide interview skills sessions, insights into balancing work and home lives; and access to executive coaching.
An enhancement to the 2016 programme includes offering a small number of successful candidates the opportunity to participate in a 10-week pilot internship with BofA Merrill. During this placement, participants will work on business-critical projects underpinned by a series of learning and skills sessions, networking and community volunteering events.
Sharon Bradley is a Returning Talent executive sponsor who took a two-and-a-half year break to care for her daughter after 18 years in financial services and returned to work in 2014 as co-COO of Global Fixed Income, Currencies and Commodities Sales at BofA Merrill. Bradley recently shared her views on the Returning Talent programme: “I felt quite daunted about my return to work, but the bank has a great learning programme and incredibly inclusive and supportive culture, so I quickly got up to speed and integrated. I’d strongly encourage people to apply for a place in our Returning Talent programme – if it’s anything like the support I’ve received here, it’ll be incredibly beneficial.”
Carla Dosmond, a 2015 Returning Talent participant who has since joined the company’s Global Banking and Markets team, echoes this sentiment: “After several years of staying at home to raise my children, I was eager to return to a full-time role in financial services, and the Returning Talent programme provided an ideal platform. Not only do participants attend several days of hands-on and interactive seminars about job search and careers coaching, they also have access to senior management across the company and support from HR. I am delighted to now be in a full-time role, and this programme played a huge role in that.”
“We recognise that returning to work after a career break can be like stepping into the unknown – especially given today’s highly regulated industry, coupled with huge advancements in technology,” said Ama Afrifa-Kyei, Diversity and Inclusion manager for EMEA at BofA Merrill. “Over the past four years of our Returning Talent programme, we’re very proud to have helped numerous people regain their confidence, update their knowledge and return to work, both with us, and with other organisations.”
The company has also established an alumni network of past Returning Talent participants, allowing them to keep in touch, network and share experiences and knowledge.