After a ten-year career break to raise her children, Jodie Foglia joined Kier’s Infrastructure business as a personal assistant (PA).  We caught up with Jodie to learn more about how it felt to be welcomed back to the working world and the transferrable skills motherhood taught her…

What was your experience before your career break?

I was actually a PA before, for eight years in another construction company and I decided to leave when I had children - which in some ways, was a little bit like being a PA again as it requires so much organisation!

When they were little, I wanted to be around for all their ‘firsts’, but now they’re all in full-time education, I found myself getting a little bored. They didn’t need me all the time anymore and I was like okay, it’s time to get back to work, back to being Jodie again and not just mummy.

How did it feel going to an interview again?

Well, it had been over 18 years since I last did an interview! So, I was nervous but so excited at the same time.

I got the call from the recruitment team at Kier two days before they wanted to interview, so those two nights prior, I didn’t get much sleep at all!

I was overthinking and questioning myself ‘am I really doing this?’ ‘Am I ready?’ But I went down to London and met Mandy Duncan, one of my directors, and after a brief chat in the lift, I instantly felt at ease and all my worries from the night before, vanished.

Mandy helped bring my confidence back and I’m so grateful that she saw past the nervous mum who had been out of the industry for the past ten years.

That’s great to hear! So, you had the interview, what happened next?

I was at my children’s school helping out when I got the call from the recruiter that I got the job! I was covered in glitter and glue, sparkling away both inside and out, absolutely thrilled with the news!

I just couldn’t believe it, I was so excited and so proud of myself, and my kids were too, I was so excited for this new chapter of our lives.

Amazing, congratulations! What was your first day like?

I woke up very excited, got myself and the kids ready and then headed into my local Kier office to meet the team and get set up on my laptop and all the systems.

That was all a bit daunting at first, there are so many new ways of working – I’d never even used Teams before – but I found everything to be very intuitive and quickly picked up what I needed to know.

I’d started just before Christmas which was nice because it eased me back into things. It also meant I could meet the wider team at the Christmas party which was a great opportunity to get to know everyone.

The next day we had a board meeting, and our managing director said to everyone ‘well I would introduce Jodie, but it feels like she’s part of the furniture already’ which was really nice to hear, and I’d only been there a couple of weeks!

It’s weird to think now how nervous I was before starting my career again, because it’s just been so natural and everyone has been so welcoming, it’s like a breath of fresh air, I love it.

It’s fantastic to hear you were so welcomed to the team!  What advice would you give to others who are looking to return to work?

Do it. You’ve got absolutely nothing to lose, and don’t think that you’re ever not enough.

Especially as a mum, I think it can be easy to get wrapped up in the fact that you’ve not had ‘professional’ experience in such a long time, but those skills that motherhood teaches you are so transferable: time management, money management, people management!

You can absolutely draw upon those within your interview and the right employer will see that potential in you.

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