It’s Plan G for Bromley mums returning to work

Local mums looking to get back into work are to be given a helping hand through The Glades Shopping Centre’s community-focused Plan G initiative and a Bromley entrepreneur, who has been changing the lives of women in the area.

A recent survey by MMB Magazine, which revealed that 48% of women had concerns about how they would feel when returning to work after having children. With that being said, The Glades is delighted to be working with Jane Knight, founder of Successful Mums, who spearheads an empowering career and coaching service.

From Wednesday 24 April from 10am until 2pm, the Successful Mums ‘Back to Work’ course will be back by popular demand at The Glades following introductory taster sessions last summer, which were attended by more than 70 women.

The free workshops – available to mums from the Bromley, Bexley and Lewisham boroughs – cover CV support, work-life balance, interview techniques, personal branding and much more. The three-part series will continue on Wednesday 1 May between 10am and 2pm and will finish with one-to-one tailored meetings arranged at a later date.

Successful Mums was born from an all too familiar story of the struggle many women experience in finding roles that accommodate the needs of both their career aspirations and family. Jane found many roadblocks in finding her happy medium, so took the matter into her own hands and carved her own inspirational path to become the teacher-coach-career advisor she is today.

“One of the biggest issues women face today about getting back into work is not knowing where to start,” Jane explains. “It can be quite isolating, especially if you don’t want to go back to the same type of role and want to do something different that fits in around your family.

That’s where we can step in and offer a starting point and career advice to give clarity about options. The majority of ladies we help haven’t recognised the parenting skills they have such as negotiation, time management, conflict management, organisational and creative skills can be taken into the work place,” continued Jane.

Speaking about what attendees can expect at the shopping centre next month, Jane concluded: “It’s a friendly and professional course where we help with that gap on the CV, career advice, where to find the part-time and flexible jobs, confidence-building skills, personal styling plus links to local employers that support women returners.

“It’s fantastic to be involved in Plan G at The Glades as it’s an exciting project which has helped us be part of many mums’ journeys back to work.”

Mark Haynes, director of The Glades, says that Successful Mums is an essential business in the community and the free, upcoming sessions offer a potential life-changing outcome for people who sign up.

“The idea behind Plan G is to offer businesses and organisations in Bromley and surrounding areas the chance to springboard their services further and provide chances for the community to learn new skills, find new hobbies and explore worthwhile experiences.

“Successful Mums is the epitome of this, and we would like to encourage women who want to revive their careers or are in need of reassurance that they can be a working mum to book a place,” Mark added. “Jane and her team are a credit to Bromley and we are delighted to be able to support the business and its passion for championing mothers in our community and their value in the workplace.”

Sign up to the free Successful Mums ‘Back to Work’ programme on Wednesday 24 April from 10am until 2pm on our What’s On page.

Interview: Melissa Sheppard

Through back-to-work and business start-up training programmes, Jane Knight and the Successful Mums team have helped more than 4,500 women from the area since 2014 to realise their skills, boost their confidence and get their mojo back after having children.

Melissa Sheppard, a healthcare project administrator from Bromley, is one of the women who has forged a new path after taking part in the workshops at The Glades last summer. Here, she explains her story.

Like countless women, I found it difficult as a single mum to have the confidence that being back to work wouldn’t change the relationship with my daughter. I heard about the Successful Mums course at The Glades through a recommendation from a lady at my local Job Centre. She had received excellent feedback from other mums, and I had pretty much given up hope of having a good work-life balance, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Once there, I found that I wasn’t alone and every person around the table had the same insecurities as me. I had been so worried that my CV had huge gaps and the working world had moved on so much, while I was going to playgroups and watching Peppa Pig. I was concerned I wouldn’t find a job that I loved and one that would make my daughter see me as a positive role model.

It turned out that it was just a lack of confidence in myself holding me back. Jane is inspirational in not only setting up this wonderful business, but she has also chosen a team that can build anyone up and make them believe in themselves.

They really are worth their weight in gold, as my CV is the best it’s ever been, and I found the job I wanted six weeks after the course finished. My role is in a diverse environment, with lots of room for progression and getting involved with a variety of initiatives within the business. I honestly love it there.

My words of advice for any mums unsure of getting backing into the game is never feel like you aren’t good enough. Have the confidence to apply for the jobs you want and not the ones you think will say ‘yes’. Mostly, if the crown fits, wear it!