Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, Wellbeing

Parent returners at Corndel – practising what we preach

03 July 2019


We recently designed and launched, in partnership with Mumsnet, the first Levy-funded Returners programme, supporting parents returning to work: The Leadership Accelerator programme. Compass Group are the first company in the UK to launch this programme.

We are passionate about supporting and enabling working parents to succeed in the workplace. The issues people encounter returning to work after prolonged periods taking care of children, are unique to that stage in life and so many working parents still report that they feel unsupported by their companies.

At Corndel, 80% of our colleagues are female and most work part-time and have young families. One of our parent returners – Nicola Durkin, Professional Development Expert, described her ‘returner’ experience at Corndel.

Nicola originally trained as a teacher but didn’t think she would be able to achieve a good work-life-family balance, so moved into a Leadership and Development role. “When I started looking around for a new role, I was heavily pregnant and I thought my ‘ideal job’ wish list: ‘remote, flexible, challenging, well paid’ was pretty unachievable. I didn’t think I was a particularly attractive proposition for a company – despite my experience across HR and teaching. It’s funny how becoming a parent sometimes makes you lack confidence in your skills or think your choices are limited.”

Nicola interviewed for Corndel, four days before the birth of her first child. She was offered the job immediately and agreed a start date with Corndel six months after her son was born. Her role is home based, part time and flexible. “It’s a work-life balance that I never had as a teacher. I am in control of my diary, so I can pick Archie up earlier in the day and save my admin for when he’s in bed. Corndel are fully supportive of my need to be largely home based and match my clients to my location.”

When Nicola started at Corndel, her partner was working away during the week as an HGV long-distance driver. “I was concerned when I started my new role, that things like inductions wouldn’t fit within my normal working pattern. My partner was away during the week and childcare was limited, so coming to London for a day would have been difficult. I didn’t need to worry, there was no expectation that I would have to do different induction days. Everything fitted around my normal work pattern. We use technology to its fullest effect at Corndel, so my induction was largely remote, and I never felt I needed to be ‘in the room’. It’s really important that companies operate a ‘no exceptions’ rule to those early induction days. It demonstrates they are committed to the terms that they have agreed with the parent returner.”

Corndel pays two to three times the national average for coaches, to retain the best coaches in the marketplace. This ensures that the training we deliver is best in class. The increase in salary has allowed Nicola to work part time.

Corndel’s CEO, Sean Williams, explains how important it is to create a flexible, 21st century workplace and support parents like Nicola: “Having a career and being a parent aren’t mutually exclusive. Working parents have a range of new skills that are essential to any successful company. Coming back to work after looking after a child can be very daunting and companies have a responsibility to support parents. Too many companies feel that the inconvenience of maternity or paternity leave is ‘sufficient support’. We are benefiting from the mistakes of others, sweeping up the amazing talent in the working parent community, but it’s time for a change in mindset. That’s why we partnered with Mumsnet to develop the Leadership Accelerator Programme for parent returners. We want to enable change amongst employers by providing training using the Apprenticeship Levy, that benefits both the working parent and the company.”

“I am proud of the culture we’ve created at Corndel. It’s important that our culture, is as forward thinking as our products.”

Find out more about our Leadership Accelerator Programme for parent returners, or other Corndel Diplomas.


Share this with your network

Recent posts

You might also be interested in...

Stay connected with Corndel
Keep up-to-date with the latest information from the team, including all of our
must-read news and insights.