Returning to work

MANY Scots experience a break from the workplace for one reason or another.

But what happens when you’ve been out of the workplace for a while and need some help in preparing to return? Whether you have been on a break because you have been caring for a child, or, perhaps, following redundancy, it can be intimidating returning to the workplace. You might feel your skills are out of date or you need a change in direction.

First thing’s first – you need to link what you want from a career and what you can offer an employer, to what opportunities are available.

Draw on your experiences in work, education and interests and what other people say you are good at. Think about what is important to you: good money, job security, career development, status or working in a team. Make a list. Focus on what sort of lifestyle you want and how important work is to your life.

This isn’t as easy as it sounds. For some, support in taking the next step contact Careers Scotland.

Careers Scotland advisers can help you to assess your current situation and make you aware of the different options available to you. They will advise you on how to make the best use of this information and offer further support including developing your job searching skills. Find your nearest centre by calling 0845 8 502 502 or log on to the website

If you are returning to the workplace after maternity leave, you probably need to think about childcare. Finding the right childcare for your own circumstances can be a daunting thought. To help parents make informed choices about childcare, the government runs a national childcare website to address any issues and to assist in locating provision in your local area.

The Childcare Link website,, is designed to be easy to use with information displayed in a straightforward manner. It provides free, impartial information on childcare and pre-school education services throughout Scotland. To access information on ‘understanding childcare’, you must first enter your postcode or click on the interactive map to select a location. You will then be able to access information on childcare choices, paying for childcare and childcare and the law.

Your local council’s Social Work department has a duty to register people who are looking after children in their area. Lists of registered childminders, nurseries, playgroups and play-schemes are available by contacting them directly.

If you are thinking about updating your skills at college or university, you should contact them to find out if they have facilities to help care for your child. The Learndirect Scotland website,, also has some helpful advice on childcare issues.

Arrangements can affect whether you can work or study full-time or part-time. The cost may mean you can only work if the financial reward allows you to pay for it. You should know about state benefits in relation to childcare costs. Contact your nearest Jobcentre Plus office or visit the website,, for more information.

As well as government agencies, there are lots of recruitment agencies who can help you find the right job. Most recruitment companies are on the high street or have their own websites and there are general sites like

It is never easy returning to work after a break, so make sure you get as much support from the experts as you can. You never know, it might be the best move that you ever make.

This article was kindly donated by Careers Scotland