Returner to Work

Giusi Coppola: An Intriguing Journey Back to Work with FDM

John Smith

Giusi Coppola comes from Italy but has spent the last 20 years living and working in London. She went to university in Naples and carried out a PHD in Foreign Languages and Literature. Shortly after completing her degree, Giusi moved to the UK to perfect her fluency in English. Giusi joined the FDM Returners Programme in January 2022 after several years away from the workplace, and is now placed as a consultant within the IT department of an international law firm, working as a Project Management Officer.  

This is her story of getting back to work.

A varied work life  

Guisi started her career as an administrator within the health sector. Over the next few years she went on to accept more and more demanding roles. As a result, she managed to build up a wide range of experience across several sectors, including investment banking, fashion, and marketing, in roles ranging from Business Analyst to Programme Coordinator and Investor Relations. But after the birth of her children she took a step back from her career and spent the next 10 years looking after her family. 

Despite leaving her professional world behind, Giusi continued to keep busy with several projects alongside her caring responsibilities, helping friends and family with various ventures. She even got involved in the launch of a boutique hedge-fund service, contributing heavily towards the marketing efforts required to get this provider off the ground. Giusi also worked with her daughter’s primary school, raising funds that could be reinvested to enhance the school’s facilities. 

Discovering mindfulness   

On top of her entrepreneurial ventures, Giusi developed an interest in the discipline of yoga, training as an instructor and teaching others how to harness a sense of peace within their stressful lives. She believes that in an era when we have little time to stop and think, a practice like yoga is vital to attaining a more positive outlook. Her experience as an instructor together with her varied volunteering ventures during her career break provided a wealth of transferable skills that she was able to successfully take into her future roles.   

Finding FDM 

When Guisi decided to return to work, she researched several returners programmes. Yet, the one that stood for her was the FDM Returners Programme. She was particularly interested in the in-depth learning experience they offered. And so, after an initial phone conversation with an FDM recruiter and a few phone interviews and assessment later, she was enrolled as an FDM consultant for what were to be 7 weeks of ‘substantial training’.  

A pleasant surprise  

Guisi recalls how she was offered training opportunities by other recruitment companies. The catch was she had to pay for the training. So when FDM approached her with an offer of a fully funded training programme in addition to a salary from day 1 of training she was very happy! 

The training 

Guisi commends the training at FDM that combined both hard and soft skills. She describes how it comprised ‘little bytes of knowledge’ that were very useful and transferable especially in her placement. Coming from a non-technical background, she acknowledges that some of the modules did seem a bit tricky but with one week allotted per subject, it was enough time to grasp the material.  

She cites the FDM training as central to her confidence development and professional growth, at a time when many are doubtful of their ability to succeed. In her words, she was impressed by how in-depth the FDM Returners Programme is and believes that it is the perfect platform for professional rebirth. 

Choosing the right pathway 

Guisi says that, ‘the training and the skills brush up really showed us the pathway where we were most suited’. She mentions the weekly catch ups with senior members of the FDM recruitment team where consultants could have open discussions and flag any concerns. With the wealth of experience that the recruiters have, they are able to recognise the best fit for you. ‘They know what you’re aiming for and where your full potential will be realised…You just have to trust FDM’ is her advice.  

Support at FDM 

Guisi is soon coming up to her first year in the current placement and reflects on how FDM has supported her on this journey back to work. She says that being with FDM provides ‘a feeling of being within a family where you’re looked after and listened to. There are opportunities to upskill for those who want to and there’s always someone to talk to.’ 

Tips for Returners   

As a parting tip for potential returners Guisi’s advice is to ‘trust your gut instinct. And if you see an outstretched hand towards you, don’t be cynical: grab it!’ 

If you’ve had a career break and are now looking to get back to work, apply to FDM’s Returners Programme to launch an exciting career in business or tech.