The challenge of returning to the workplace

By Sinde Emmanuel

17 Aug 2016

On our 2016 Community Day, a team of British Land volunteers, led by Sally Jones ran a CV and interview development workshop with Broadgate Connect, a scheme initiated and funded by British Land and Broadgate.

The team was particularly impressed with Sinde, and offered her a two month contract with our Payment Ops team. Here she tells us a little of her journey trying to return to the workplace.

I started out wanting to become a Financial Accountant, and after bringing up my 3 children, losing my husband and father, I’ve found it incredibly challenging to return to the workplace.

I worked and volunteered when I could whilst my children were small. I was pregnant with our third child, when my husband was admitted into hospital. Four months later he died of lung cancer. I felt like the rug had been pulled from under my feet.

My children and I ended up moving homes ten times in ten years due to financial challenges and lack of the right support. Trying to return to the work place after 18 years has been challenging because I’m not entitled to job seekers allowance and support because they are not funded to help widows. It left me feeling very lonely and depressed about my life.

I applied for numerous financial administration jobs but didn't even get a reply. But at the beginning of June I received an email from Chantell Brown at Broadgate Connect, a scheme supported by British Land, inviting me to attend a pre-screening interview for the position of Finance Assistant. I was initially puzzled, yet excited and very nervous on the day.

At the end of the interview I was offered help to strengthen my CV and interview techniques at an employability workshop with a team of volunteers from British Land. It brought tears to my eyes! I was finally getting the help I desperately needed! That is how I met Sally Jones and the British Land team.

I’ve now spent two months at British Land. It’s been fantastic. Inevitably things have changed since I first started out, when everything was done manually.  Now everything is computerised. But I’ve found that actually modern technology has made accounting a lot easier.

My perception of British Land is that it’s a company that values their staff, providing bright, vibrant and open plan offices conducive to a healthy and comfortable working environment. I have found the people to be joyous, polite, relaxed yet hardworking.

It has been a very challenging journey to have got this far in my search for a permanent job in finance. At times I’ve felt like giving up, I felt I was no good and out of touch with the corporate world of work. But I’ve kept a positive mind at all times, even in the face of adversity and obstacles, and taken on feedback, even ‘constructive criticism’ from my children! And that’s what I would tell anyone else – keep pursuing your dreams.

The British Land contract has given me the confidence to move forward, and something to talk to future employers about.

The thoughts and opinions expressed above are those of the individual author, and do not necessarily represent the views of British Land or other employees of the company. For further details of relevant legal terms and conditions, including those relating to information you provide to us in the comments below, please refer to the Website Terms and Conditions.

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