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Rob Carmichael from Lloyds Bank speaks about how he was supported back to work after a career break.
Returning to work after a career break can be a challenge, but Rob Carmichael was supported back through Lloyds Banking Group’s returner programme.
Rob’s career break began in 2014, when he left his senior job in banking to take care of his eldest daughter and to allow his wife to continue her career.
However, as with many families, circumstances changed after 18 months: his wife became pregnant and wanted to reduce her hours.
Rob started searching for a way back to work and happened on a Facebook post about Lloyds Banking Group’s returnship programme.
A year after completing the programme he was working part time as Lloyds’ Relationship Director at a similar level to when he took his break. He had been head of RBS’ corporate banking team in Indonesia until the family moved back to the UK when their first child was due.
When his wife went back to work, Rob became a stay-at-home dad.
He found that he loved having time with his daughter and form a strong bond. He also became aware of the skills involved in looking after children 24/7. “I was guilty before I became a dad of not recognising the significant effort and skills you need to keep little people happy, to run a household and still be on speaking terms with your partner!” he says.
His own dad told him he wished he had had that time with Rob when he was little. “He’s a hero of mine and he would have given his right arm to have had the experience I have had,” says Rob. “It is definitely the best job I have ever done. I had a ball.”
Rob didn’t know about returner programmes before he applied to the Lloyds Banking Group one. He went on an assessment day in April and the programme started in June. Initially, Rob was told there was no role that exactly matched his skills after he finished the programme so he would be dropped into a team as a kind of “minister without portfolio” until a role became free.
While most of the 35 returners in his cohort were women, there were a few men, including those with caring responsibilities for elderly relatives or children. Many had been out of the workplace for several years. Rob says the programme helped cement his own beliefs in his ability and gave him an instant support network. His cohort has a Whatsapp alumni group which still meets up and most are now working at Lloyds.
“The programme made a massive difference. It would have been difficult to get back to work on this level with a cv gap without it,” says Rob. He works three days in the office and one day from home which gives him the flexibility to spend time with his two daughters while also advancing hi career and being able to share family responsibilities equally with his wife.
Rob says: “No matter what happens in my life the 18 months that I had with my daughter was the most precious time I have had the pleasure to enjoy. The support I have received from Lloyds to return to my career and to work in a way that gives me time for my daughters has been transformative for my family.”