Returner to Work Career Advice

FDM Returners Success Stories: Jaymini Ichharam

John Smith

What was your role and education prior to taking a career break? 

My educational background was in finance and accounting. Prior to my break, I had built a fulfilling global career as a Programme Manager with over 16 years of experience in managing a portfolio of multi-million pound projects across a variety of sectors including banking, microfinance and international development.  

I took a break when I had my daughter and planned to ‘return’ after a year. It took some prodding before I established that the ‘gap’ in my career was the cause of concern – in fact recruitment agents even suggested I try to look for volunteering opportunities as a stepping stone. It was as though my global career spanning close to two decades was negated by this break.  

Why were you drawn to the FDM Retuners Programme 

I stumbled upon FDM’s Returners Programme and was delighted to see that the basis of the programme was the recognition that ‘Returners’ bring great value through their wealth of experience and knowledge. There are many reasons for career breaks and these provide opportunities to re-fresh, build on and gain new skills.  

FDM helped me realise that I didn’t have to try to hide my ‘break’, but to embrace it and recognise what I gained from it. Another key aspect for me was FDM’s impressive list of clients as well as its focus and experience in the technology sector, an area that I am interested in and was looking to transition into.       

What has been the most memorable experience during your time with FDM? 

Through the Returners Programme I met so many other people who had successful and fulfilling careers and yet, like me, were finding it hard to secure suitable roles following their career breaks. It was reassuring to know that I was not facing this battle alone. We formed a strong bond and made some great friendships going on this journey together. 

The training at FDM offered a great opportunity to refresh, upskill and broaden my knowledge and skills. Just getting through the highly intense and challenging training programme was rewarding itself. If you can make it through that you know you are amply prepared to tackle life back at work!  

The Returners team and trainers also played a crucial role in not just making it a memorable and enjoyable experience, but also providing fantastic support, coaching and encouragement right from the start of the programme to being on client site. 

What is your current job title? 

When I started my placement, initially I worked alongside IT Project Managers on a significant programme for the bank. This provided me a fantastic opportunity to use my project management skills whilst giving me a wider glimpse into the of world of IT.   

Last year I started a new role as a Communications & Operations Officer, working with the Solutions & Strategy Design (Architecture) team which develops technology strategies and solutions that enable the business functions to overcome challenges and deliver on their vision. The team also plays a key role in the bank’s high-profile programmes.    

In my role as a Communications & Operations Officer, I am responsible for managing internal and external communications, facilitating the operations of a team of thirty in the capacity of a Scrum Master and liaising with our key stakeholders. This role provides me with great insight into the various aspects of IT as well as understanding of the business operations and the challenges that come with aligning business and technology strategies.  

It’s been said that the IT industry has become arguably the most significant driver for the modern global economy, so I am very grateful that FDM has opened the doors for me to transition into this exciting and key field.  

What are some of your responsibilities and tasks while on-site?