Beyond the pause: Navigating the return to work with Accenture

February 21, 2024
companies with return to work programs

If you’re accustomed to today’s working landscape, keeping up with rapid technological advancements and maintaining relevant skills may seem like a relentless sprint. For parents returning to work after taking a career break, it’s an uphill battle. 

While many advanced workplaces are embracing flexibility and family-friendly policies, there’s more support needed for parents returning to the workforce after longer career breaks. 

Accenture is making huge strides in this space. Two of the company’s recent recruits, Georgia Jahnke and Carrie Grimes, share their career journeys, experiences of parenthood, struggles, and triumphs returning to the professional world. 


“I wasn’t gallivanting around the world drinking champagne and taking Instagram-worthy pictures,” laughs Georgia. “I was raising two headstrong little humans.” 


“Likewise,” says Carrie. “When I became a mother, I wanted to stay close to home. During those early years of child-rearing, I ran a small business from home and did volunteer work. But when I was ready to re-enter mainstream employment, I wasn’t necessarily ‘prepared’.”  

“Just when I thought I’d never have a ‘conventional’ job again – I came across an ad…”

Carrie grew her career as an analyst programmer, IT services manager, and product manager for a range of employers, from large government departments to small global startups.  

“I’d always thought I was very employable,” she says. “But, after ten years, when I tried to rejoin the workforce, I felt lost. My skills were out of date. I didn’t get any replies to job applications. It felt like my age and experience were working against me. My confidence was shot.”  

She worked part-time with her partner, an independent consultant, as a researcher and report writer. While it was a great opportunity to work on interesting projects and refresh her skills, it wasn’t one to grow their joint income. 

Georgia was in the same boat, having left her last role before having children ten years ago. 

“I was delighted when I found out I was pregnant, but soon I became terribly ill with hyperemesis. Travelling to work was unbearable, so I requested a laptop from my workplace to work from home. My employer looked at me as if I was an alien – they declined! When I didn’t back down, they gave me an old brick of a computer. I delivered all my work while battling incredible sickness and nausea.” 

Fast forward to last year, she applied for and was accepted into Accenture’s Career Reboot Program. 

“The doorbell rang and right on my doorstep was a box from the company, with my laptop packaged and ready to use. It was at that moment that I realized how much things have changed… Finally, an opportunity with flexibility and support that parents need. I grabbed onto it with both hands, I couldn’t believe it!” 

Carrie shares a similar experience.

“Just when I thought I’d never have a ‘conventional’ job again – I came across an ad by Generation Australia for its return-to-work program on social media. It seemed to be written specifically for me! At first, I was sceptical. Turns out, it was my lucky break.”

Little hiccups on the return to work journey

Understandably, when you’re returning from a career break, things don’t always work perfectly. 

“My first day in the workplace after a decade of absence, I joined my first team meeting,” says Georgia. “My screen swam with boxes of unfamiliar faces, I greeted everyone – but no one responded. I panicked. Alas, my microphone was off! But I quickly got this sorted and the first thing I heard was a warm, personal welcome. My return-to-work journey had begun.” 

Even simple digital changes like ‘emoji reactions’ took a bit of practice. 

“I simply didn’t know how to use them. It seems so simple now, but it’s daunting when you’re not familiar with things, and you’re afraid to ask, because you want to make a good impression. Especially so when the people you’re working with are often younger and seemingly more ‘on-top’ of everything.” 

It’s the key difference a supportive, friendly workplace can provide. 

Accenture offers the opportunity to meet incredible individuals and learn so much 

For Carrie, the Generation Australia program was a huge confidence booster, providing key skills – including soft skill development. 

companies with return to work programs

“From my work history and life experience in general, I’d acquired many of the soft skills it emphasized. However, the program enabled me to recognize and articulate these skills – and gave me a safe space to practice ones I’d become a bit rusty on.” 

She gained valuable hard skills too. Completing the Salesforce Platform Developer 1 bootcamp over 14 weeks, she learned website development and programming skills, and Salesforce configurations and customizations in cloud software. 

“These skills need longer to hone in the real world, but it provided proof of my aptitude and that, despite my age, I could still learn new, relevant tech skills. Apparently, you can teach an old girl new tricks!” 

For Georgia, Accenture’s Reboot Program provided her with the foundations and confidence to restart her working journey. The four-week training covered: 

  • core-consulting technical and professional skills
  • business analysis training 
  • Accenture methodologies
  • case studies, guest speakers, career coaching, and practice-led learning sessions 
  • client project shadowing.  

“We had the opportunity to meet incredible individuals and learn so much, including about the metaverse. One activity that resonated with me was the Clifton Strengths survey, which helped me understand my key strengths to unlock my potential and performance in my current role.

Accenture focuses on your strengths, with leaders who believe in matching you with the right role, instead of with anything available.” 

“It’s up to you how you want to shape your journey at Accenture.”

Generation Australia’s partnership with Accenture led Carrie to start her new role (after a 16-year break) with the company. 

“At Accenture, every day on a project is a chance to learn and grow. Not to mention, the company also makes a huge investment in training. We all have access to a plethora of online courses and training to develop skills in our areas of interest and that are relevant to our current and future work.” 

And, as someone passionate about volunteer and community service, she appreciates Accenture team members receiving time and opportunities to volunteer for worthwhile charities and causes.  

“I’ve helped build solar lights for children and families in Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea villages, who don’t have electricity at home. I’ve made sandwiches for children who typically go to school without breakfast. I’ve also participated in a high school mentorship program for girls, encouraging them to see the opportunities for careers in STEMM.” 

It’s this type of meaningful work that has granted her a greater sense of personal well-being. 

Georgia launched into her role at Accenture working on multiple client projects as a Business Process Designer, Business Analyst, Scrum Master, and Project Management Officer. 

“Work is constantly changing and challenging me, and I absolutely love it! While the training program may have ‘officially’ ended, Accenture encourages you to continue your training journey. For example, through its Technology Quotient courses in Cloud, Blockchain, AI and many more. 

“It’s up to you how you want to shape your journey at Accenture. The support is always available. I feel fortunate enough that I’m in a position where, regardless of my career level in the firm, I’m heard.” 

At Accenture, you’ll receive real career development opportunities – including access to training and education resources, external training, mentoring, coaching, and more.

Find out more

Looking forward to a growing career

It’s been a little bit over a year now that Georgia has been at Accenture as a part-time Business Process Consultant. 

“After jumping over so many hurdles and being rejected so many times, there are times I sit back and wonder how I got here. I was constantly told: ‘You tick all the boxes, but you have a huge gap in your resume’. Back then, my confidence was at its lowest. Now, I’m so glad I took the plunge, and feel so lucky and blessed to have completed Accenture’s Career Reboot Program.” 

companies with return to work programs

Understandably, after returning from a career break, one of the hardest things can be adjusting to change. For Georgia, it’s striking the right balance between work and her children and family life.

“But with discipline, practice, clear boundaries, and support from my colleagues and leaders, I’ve been able to make it work. I finally feel comfortable being myself and enjoy every moment at Accenture. I’m constantly learning and surrounded by incredible people. Right now, my future is looking bright, but my focus is being present and continuing to grow.” 

After five months, Carrie too has settled into her role as Packaged Application Development Analyst. 

“Big picture – I enjoy being part of a large-scale project, developing a system to benefit many people across Australia. Day to day, it’s the banter with my colleagues as we help each other solve problems, big and small, that makes work fun.”  

As Carrie appreciates, digital technology has evolved rapidly and incredibly since she last worked full-time in the industry. 

“I love getting hands-on experience with systems and platforms I’d heard about but hadn’t used before. I’m also looking forward to consolidating the digital skills I learned during the Generation Australia program and working with other cutting-edge technology, such as Generative AI. Accenture is investing heavily in these areas and is, I believe, a leader in the field.” 

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About the Author

Jacynta Clayton’s career started in recruitment advertising and employer branding, working with global clients to create and deploy strategic and creative content. Now she combines her industry experience with the knowledge from her psychology and professional writing degrees to write unique and resounding stories. As a WORK180 storyteller she relishes the opportunity to elevate the voices and experiences of so many amazing people, while also empowering and educating audiences on how to choose a workplace where they can thrive.

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