Written by Eleanor Yeo 

I love autumn. The slight nip in the air as summer ends, and for me, it’s always been a time of new starts. As a child, this meant buying a new pencil case and a trip to get school shoes, as an adult, it might signal the opportunity to find that exciting new job opportunity. But if you’ve had a career break for any reason, you might feel uncertain about where to start.  

This month signals the end of the government’s furlough scheme, brought in last year to help businesses to survive during the pandemic.  

And according to advisers at Exeter Works, there has never been a better time to seek out that new opportunity. 

Matt Markham, adviser at the Exeter Works advice hub in Princesshay, said, “Since the easing of restrictions back in March, we’ve seen an abundance of vacancies and apprenticeship opportunities advertised. From temporary part-time positions to permanent, full-time vacancies, there are so many great local companies looking for staff right now.” 

 And whatever your reasons for taking that career break – whether you’ve been furloughed or had time out to bring up children, cared for a family member, taken redundancy – you can still use the time out to your advantage as you apply for new roles.  

 Matt continued, “We’ve all had to adapt our way of life in the past 18 months, and everybody’s CV will look different. If you’ve had a career break, focus on the positives – the things that you were able to do during this time and that might be transferable.  During lockdown, so many people organised food shops for elderly neighbours, or zoom calls for those living alone – if you helped anybody out during this time, you could definitely use it to your advantage and write about it in your CV or application.” 

The Exeter Works team is on hand to help with CV writing, job applications, searching for vacancies and training opportunities, and appointments can be made with their team of advisers who work from their Covid-secure advice hub in the city centre. The service is there for anybody, regardless of circumstance and the aim is very much to get the working population of the city, back on its feet following the pandemic. For those aged 16-24, advice is provided through Youth Hub Devon, also based within the Exeter Works hub. 

The team at Exeter Works has created some top tips for anybody returning to work following a break: 

  • Think about what you’ve done during your career break, and how these experiences might be transferrable 
  • Be as flexible as possible  
  • Be prepared to step outside your comfort zone  
  • Consider volunteering if you’re able to – it can be a great way to get into your chosen sector 
  • Talk to experts whenever possible and ask them to look through your CV to provide feedback. Exeter Works can help with this.  

To find out more about Exeter Works, search for ‘Exeter Works’ on social media channels or go to exeterworks.org 

 Make an appointment with an adviser by emailing hello@exeterworks.org 




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