Learning from Return with Resilience

The People Portfolio recently collaborated with HRC Recruitment and Mind & Mission Ltd to deliver a Scottish Government funded Women Returner’s programme. The overall aim of the Government’s funding was to address gender inequality in the workplace and build on their commitment to reducing the gender pay gap.

Our project, called Return with Resilience, focused on women over 50 (or those transitioning through the menopause) who had had a career break of at least 6 months and were now looking to return to work.

This is a group in particular need of support.

A recent article by The Centre for Better Aging states, “It is clear barriers to employment for older workers were an issue before the pandemic but have been exacerbated by the economic fallout of COVID-19. Before the pandemic there were already around 824,000 people age 50-64 in the UK who were not working but would like to be. This number is rising and will continue to unless action is taken to protect older workers. Over 50s need targeted, individualised back-to-work support to ensure they don’t face an uncertain financial future.”  

We designed a supportive, interactive programme which combined group employability workshops with individual mental fitness coaching which supported two groups of 6 women in February and March.

Attracting participants to take part was a surprising initial key challenge in delivering the project.  Although we knew the programme had great content and skilled facilitators, as well as being free for the participants, we had to work hard to promote it and attract relevant delegates. 

We learned that many of these women were not active on the usual recruitment channels – i.e. job boards, LinkedIn etc., – so we had to use a range of social media channels to reach them. We also had a one-to-one call with each of them to answer any questions and build trust before having a launch call where wider introductions were made, and technical issues dealt with in a safe space. 

As we began to talk to the women, we learned that another challenge in recruiting delegates had been due to a deep-rooted lack of confidence.  Many talked about needing to really dig deep in order to take the initial leap and apply, trusting us with their journey. 

The length of the career break can often impact this and those with longer career breaks can feel so far removed from the workplace that they just don’t know if they will ever fit back into the world of work, let alone knowing where to start. 

The feedback received from the participants was overwhelmingly positive and demonstrated how very much needed support like this is –

  • “With an undeniably long career break, the programme helped me identify key skills and more importantly, transferrable skills and I have updated my CV accordingly.”
  • “Attending the workshop has given me a fresh perspective on my Job searches, I’m much more proactive now and actively seeking roles in areas that interest me.”
  • “Participating in this group gave me confidence I could hold my own space back in business.”                                                                                                                              
  • “This course has been highly beneficial to me as have been away from Financial Services for 5 years. It made me realise that I still have a lot to offer to an employer in terms of skills and experience despite being nearly 60! In fact, it did what it said on the tin as I now have a job and am so looking forward to it.”

Many of the women we worked with had caring responsibilities too, from children to parents and partners.  They had become used to putting others before themselves, and the pandemic exacerbated this. The majority of the women we worked with are now looking for either part time work or some flexibility as they go back to work. 

So, if employers want to attract this demographic of applicant, something other than the traditional 9 – 5 working pattern may be what’s needed, flexibility is key. A possible unplanned benefit of the COVID pandemic is that there are currently many more conversations happening about flexible and hybrid working as people return to the workplace. 

We very much hope that this can benefit career break returners and will encourage more companies to support this demographic.

Forward Thinking Outplacement Support

The People Portfolio is delighted to be partnering with Mind and Mission to offer unique, forward thinking, outplacement support which puts individual wellbeing at the centre of everything.

Redundancy can be a hugely upsetting and challenging time. Even when redundancy is voluntary, the life change can be significant and options for the future unclear.  Our combination of traditional outplacement support and mental fitness coaching allows for a fully rounded experience where employability skills and personal resilience are enhanced together.

We offer tailored packages to suit your individual business need:

  • Strengths and Achievement Identification, CV Development, Interview Skills, Job Search Strategies, LinkedIn Profile Development
  • Group and/or individual support
  • A full package of employability resources
  • Individual Mental Fitness Coaching for employees and those managing the process

Offering this support when individuals are moving on demonstrates your true commitment to wellbeing at every stage of the employee life cycle.  Our support will firmly position you as a progressive employer of choice.

To discuss your own business outplacement requirements, contact us today to find out more on  morna@thepeopleportfolio.co.uk or 07377 969172 or fill in the form below.

    About Us

    We are a team (or portfolio!) of freelance consultants who collaborate to meet a range of company and individual needs. We have worked together previously and share common values. We would describe ourselves as innovative, caring, flexible and straightforward. Details of some of the core team are below along with some testimonials and details of some of the partners we are proud to work with.

    Morna Ronnie

    Morna has focussed on people throughout her career, from recruiting in agencies, in-house and RPOs, to facilitation of training courses and workshops, career coaching, outplacement and psychometrics.


    She enjoys creating solutions to individual and company people issues and prides herself on having a positive, professional and results driven approach.

    Morna also has a keen interest in diversity & inclusion and latterly has focussed on supporting career break returners in restarting their careers by rebuilding confidence and providing employability advice on CVs, Interview Skills, Job Searching & Networking.

    Her sector experience includes oil & gas, manufacturing, engineering, charities and financial services.

    British Psychological Society Level A & B and Belbin Accredited she also enjoys working with Behavioural and Psychometric profiles.

    Find out more https://www.linkedin.com/in/mornaronnie/

    Get in touch morna@thepeopleportfolio.co.uk

    Helen Tuohy

    Helen is passionate about coaching and enabling others, quickly gaining trust and building strong working relationships. 

    She is a highly motivated, confident, energetic and above all, people-centric, Human Resources Consultant.  Her natural ability to communicate, along with her listening skills and passion for all things people related, results in an inclusive style of consultancy. 


    Her ability to challenge constructively in the face of opposition, results in the recommendation and implementation of culturally appropriate, practical and workable solutions to commercial people challenges. 

    CIPD qualified with extensive experience, culminating in exposure to numerous specialisms of the Human Resources discipline, including: Employee Relations, Employee Experience, Organisational Development and Resourcing Helen has experience of working across a wide range of business sectors including Financial Services, Manufacturing, Public Sector/Local Government and Third Sector.

    Helen lives in South Lanarkshire with Cookie the Cat. 

    Find out more: Helen Tuohy | LinkedIn

    Get in touch: helen@thepeopleportfolio.co.uk

    Team Testimonials

    Helen has been absolutely amazing at guiding me through the process of writing eloquent and persuasive job applications and interview preparation after years of being with the same employer. She spent time “really” looking at what the employer wanted, and then helped me to craft my applications and interview answers based on this. She is a natural and finds this easy, even though many of us really struggle would this. It is especially so if you’ve been out of the labour market for some time, or if, like me, you’ve not moved jobs for a long time. If you’ve forgotten or don’t know how good you are, Helen is exactly who you need!

    Morna worked on recruitment of personnel into several key postions in the business and was a real pleasure to work with. She organised the necessary psychometric testing and assessments to suit our internal process and provided job suitability reports prior to first interview. Her attention to detail and real understanding of our requirements made a potentially time consuming and difficult job very simple and straightforward. I’d recommend Morna  unreservedly for this type of work. Thanks again!

    Helen was part of a team that we commissioned to help us develop our values, mission, vision and strategic objectives. Helen led the work on our values and assisted us explore with our staff and stakeholders what kind of organisation we wanted to be and what the values that hold us together should be. Helen took the plethora of ideas gathered from workshops and team and individual discussions and successfully pulled our ideas into themes. From this work we were able to settle on our current values and develop strategies to embed them culturally throughout the organisation. Helen was collaborative, patient and able to translate our loose ideas into the ‘words’ we needed and the behaviours that would follow. So complete was this work that our values now run through everything we do from the way we recruit to the way we coach and support our staff teams to the way we deliver services

    Morna is a fantastic people person and is really approachable while remaining consummately a true professional. I found her to be extremely well organised, highly focused, brilliant at communication (keeping me 100% informed on the process) and generally just a really lovely person. I have no hesitation in recommending the “hands on” and “holistic” practitioner approach to recruitment which I experienced with Morna

    Some of our Partners


    Return with Resilience

    Return with Resilience

    I was first introduced to the idea of returner programmes a few years ago, when I was working inhouse as a Head of Resourcing.  I met a wide range of people who had taken career breaks, from anything between a year and 15 years+, for a multitude of reason e.g. raising a family, caring responsibilities, international travel, extended break following redundancy.  They were all struggling to get back into the workplace. 

    I have since designed, project managed and facilitated several similar programmes in this field for both men and women and my biggest takeaway with every group I have supported has been what a highly skilled, resourceful and motivated group they were.  The main challenges and personal obstacles they faced were a loss of confidence and not knowing how to successfully present themselves to the market.  However once they were provided with  support and guidance in these areas, they went on to become very hardworking, successful and engaged/loyal employees. 

    I am therefore thrilled that The People Portfolio is collaborating with HRC Recruitment and Mind and Mission to deliver a new returner programme, funded by the Scottish Government.  Called Return with Resilience it is specifically aimed at women from financial services or engineering backgrounds who are over 50 and/or transitioning through the menopause.  This group can often find that they face disadvantage or discrimination during this phase of their career.  The overall objective of the government’s women returners fund is to reduce the gender pay gap.  More details on the strategic aims can be found here; https://www.gov.scot/news/helping-women-return-to-work/

    We will provide employability support such as CV writing, Interview and Job Search skills and delegates will also receive mental fitness coaching, from Mind and Mission, to support their confidence and resilience as they re-enter the workplace.

    Return with Resilience applications are open and can be made at  https://jobs.hrcrecruitment.co.uk/job/scottish-returner-programme-return-with-resilience-7114.aspx for financial services applicants and https://jobs.hrcrecruitment.co.uk/job/scottish-returner-programme-return-with-resilience-7115.aspx for engineering applicants.

    We will be posting programme updates on this blog and also on our LinkedIn page, so follow us there for the latest news.  https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-people-portfolio

    Black Women in Technology

    Generating Genius has been working for 15 years to ensure that talented and able students from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are positioned to excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematical STEM careers. 

    Despite a record number of women now working in IT, new research undertaken by BCS, The Charted Institute of IT, shows that at just 0.7%, black women are still heavily under-represented in the sector.   

    The People Portfolio is delighted to be supporting Generating Genius to promote their ‘Black Women into Tech’ (BWIT) programme, focussed on further closing the diversity gap. 

    The programme will formally launch in January, providing participants with insight, practical knowledge and work experience with employer partners inc. HSBC, Rightmove, MAN Group, PDT Partners, and IRI Big Data and Analytics. 

    Women who meet all of the following criteria should apply: 

    • Black women from African/Caribbean descent 
    • Undergraduates in any year of study, or first-year post graduate 
    • STEM students e.g. Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics or Engineering  
      Any subject and can provide a demonstrable passion for technology e.g. has completing a coding course 
    • Women aspiring to a career in technology 

    We encourage those interested to submit an application now , as places are limited. 

    If you have any questions or queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with either morna@thepeopleportfolio.co.uk or helen@thepeopleportfolio.co.uk 

    Why work with a Career Coach when changing roles?

    You’ve never needed to work with one before.

    There’s lots of free resources online e.g. CV templates, interview tips etc., so you could use them instead, right?

    Well yes, that may be true, but the market is currently swamped with candidates, in all but a very small number of sectors.  So, it’s important that your application is as strong as it possibly can be.  You need to ensure you can stand out from the crowd at every stage.

    Think of the example of a personal trainer in a gym – do you need one?  Maybe, maybe not. I guess it depends how important your improvement in fitness is to you.  You could just go for a run, you could go to the gym and just use the equipment by yourself, but if you want to be focused on meeting clear objectives and working steadily towards them, expert support makes a huge difference.

    Or the example of a slimming club.  Lots of people diet quite regularly, but if you have a big event coming up e.g. a wedding, you might decide that the focus, accountability, recipes etc., provided by joining a slimming club will help to shift those last few pounds and keep you focused on the end goal.

    In the same way that you might decide to invest in yourself with a personal trainer or slimming club, a career coach provides the expertise, support, encouragement and accountability that will make all the difference in your career search.

    So, what will my coach do?

    Through a series of personally tailored video calls and materials they will help you:

    • Navigate through this period of change – they are someone to talk to about how you are feeling about your career transition
    • Rebuild your confidence, if it has taken a knock
    • Review career options – they help you uncover options that you had not thought about
    • Uncover and talk confidently and succinctly about your skills and achievements
    • Develop your personal brand – through writing a great CV, supporting with the creation of a video cv to help you stand out from the crowd, polish up your LinkedIn profile and advising on how to be more visible on LinkedIn
    • Adopt the best job search strategies and advise you on how to carry them out
    • Understand interview types and techniques and how to confidently prepare for them
    • Transition into your new role

    Working with a Career Coach can ultimately give you the tools and confidence to shorten the time it takes to make that change in your career.

    Contact Us

    Please let us know how we can help you, we would love to chat.

    You can get hold of us by;

    Email morna@thepeopleportfolio.co.uk or helen@thepeopleportfolio.co.uk

    Call 07377 969172

      Portfolio for Individuals

      *if you are interested in the Be Your Best Self programme for Women in Agriculture please click here https://thepeopleportfolio.co.uk/category/beyourbestself/

      We support people in a range of employment situations from changing jobs, redundancy, returning to work after a career break, to seeking an internal move or promotion.

      Our combined experience in Recruitment, Human Resources and Outplacement means that we can help you to:

      * identify what type of job really motivates you and matches your own experience

      * job search effectively to give you a wider range of opportunities to consider

      * create and tailor your CV and application for each job

      * understand what interviewers are looking for

      * structure your preparation to enable you to perform at your best during the entire recruitment process.

      We offer one-to-one career coaching covering all of these topics. The first step is to book a free Call for Clarity.

      Call for Clarity

      To better understand your needs and determine how we would best support your objectives we offer an initial 30 minute Call for Clarity. We’ll ask some questions about your circumstances, listen to your needs and offer suggestions about the support package that we feel would best suit you. This call is free and you would be under no obligation to take up any of our paid services. You can book using the buttons below to find a time to suit you and this can easily be rearranged should your plans change.


      Our CV Review Service starts with us carefully reviewing your current CV (if you have one). We then have a one hour video call to review your CV together, giving you hints and tips on how to improve it. Afterwards we will e-mail you resources to support you with this. This can then be followed by a 30 minute follow up call to review the revised version with you.

      In this service we do not rewrite your CV for you as we believe that equipping you to write your own CV effectively is the best approach. That way you can adapt your own CV for all future applications and feel confident in doing so. This one hour video call costs £75 inc. VAT.

      Success Session

      A key building block in writing your CV and preparing for interviews can be to understand, and be able to talk about, your background and achievements and how these relate to the competencies and functional areas of expertise a potential employer is seeking. 

      Although we discuss the topic of achievements in our CV sessions, if you want to spend more time drawing these out with your coach then this session can be invaluable.  We will work with you to articulate your achievements and create a “key achievements bank”.   You will then be able to use this to quickly tailor your CV for each application you make and prepare well for interviews.  Doing this groundwork will make the whole job application and interview process much less daunting.

      A one hour “Success Session” with us will help you feel much more confident and prepared for any recruitment process. We will help you to clearly and concisely talk about your achievements and how these relate to the competencies and functional areas a potential new employer is seeking. This session costs £75 inc. VAT.


      Our interview skills sessions are one hour video calls which can be used to discuss general interview hints and techniques or can be used as a practice interview session where we will prepare and pose some interview questions to you and give feedback on your responses as well as any tips for improvement. A one hour interview session costs £75 inc VAT.

      Job Search Coaching

      A one hour video call covering a range of topics tailored to suit your individual needs from the use of job boards, to working effectively with recruitment agencies, professional networking, use of LinkedIn when job searching and more. A one hour Job Search session costs £75 inc. VAT.

      Belbin Team Roles report

      We also offer the opportunity to complete a Belbin Team roles behavioural profile and receive feedback on your report. This will help you to identify your strengths, allowable weaknesses and understand what you have to offer in a team. A valuable piece of self understanding when writing your CV and preparing for interviews. To find out more please email morna@thepeopleportfolio.co.uk

      Portfolio for Employers

      The People Portfolio provides a diverse range of professional, yet flexible people focussed services. These services have been developed through the team’s extensive experience of working in HR, Recruitment, Facilitation, Outplacement and Coaching.

      We work with you to achieve your business aims through your people. Our network of Associate Consultants have the skills, knowledge and experience to work with you through the entire employment life cycle.

      Our vision is to be the essential partner for people first businesses.

      Our fully tailored portfolio includes;

      Group and individual outplacement programmes

      Psychometrics for application in team and individual development e.g. Belbin Team Roles, Myers Briggs, 16PF5

      Recruitment/Talent Acquisition

      Organisational Redesign and Development

      Values, Culture & Employee Engagement

      Mental Fitness & Wellbeing

      Conflict Resolution inc. mediation

      Diversity & Inclusion including Returner Programmes

      Facilitation & Training

      More details on some of our services

      Group and Individual Outplacement Programmes

      It is vitally important to treat employees well if you are in the position of having to make them redundant.  It gives them much needed support at a very difficult time, demonstrates that you live your values to your remaining employees and is quite simply the right thing to do.  We can support every stage of the process from the selection process, to the legalities, communication and provision of a highly personalised outplacement programme.  This can also be enhanced with our mental fitness support for those leaving and those managing the process.

      Recruitment & Talent Acquisition

      Expert support in this area can speed up the process and will lead to the right fit for your team first time.  Getting hiring wrong is one of the most expensive errors a business can make from direct costs, to reputational issues. 

      We can support you with job design, creation of job descriptions, recruitment & selection strategy, advertising, selection of candidates, assessment, interviewing and onboarding. We are also qualified to deliver a range of psychometric and behavioural tools to build successful teams.

      Organisational Redesign and Development

      Inevitably, as your organisation grows, you will need to review what it wants and needs, assess the gap between the current state and where you want it to be in the future.  A review of the design of yourorganisational practices will bridge that gap.  

      Organisational Design and Development is a fundamental, wide reaching, future-focused activity involving a review of the entire organisation to decide what does and doesn’t work. It usually involves a holistic review of everything from your systems, structures, people practices, rewards, performance measures, policies, processes, culture, to the wider operating environment.

      We will work with you to identify and fully understand your organisation’s issues and performance challenges.  We will enable you to make sure the right decisions are made about how to organise the work and the people in your company to best achieve your, goals, aims and strategy.

      Values, Culture and Employee Engagement

      A growing and prosperous business is one that identifies, nurtures and retains the fundamental core values and culture it was first built on.  Employees with high levels of engagement are committed to your goals, giving their best every day.  This in turn leads to higher business productivity and success.

      We will work with you articulate what your culture and values are and recommend ways to build them into your business’ DNA.  We will also support you to recruit against your core values, blend them into all your policies and procedures and monitor employee engagement levels within your company.  

      Mental Fitness and Wellbeing

      Day to day pressures of home and work life can be a lot to handle sometimes. Stress, anxiety and depression are increasingly common in today’s society, now more than ever.

      As an employer it is more important than ever to help support your employees’ physical and financial wellbeing, and also their emotional wellbeing.  We can work with you to provide the appropriate tools and resources for your people, helping create a happier and more engaged workforce.

      Conflict Resolution including Mediation

      It is highly beneficial to have independent HR advice and support in periods of conflict including expert mediation. Our highly professional and confidential support can help you to manage any situation the right way.

      Diversity & Inclusion including Returner Programmes

      Diverse teams, where employees feel included, are more likely to bring a range of skills, experiences and viewpoints which in turn lead to more creativity and greater success. If you have this important topic on your agenda, we can help with defining your aims and objectives, providing tips and advice on how to embed diversity and inclusion at every stage.  We also offer specific expertise in Returner Programmes.

      Facilitation & Training

      Whether it’s traditional face-to-face or digital, a small scale meeting or a larger training course we can support with skilled facilitation. Focussed on your outcomes we can design training courses and interactive workshops from an initial idea or tailor and deliver some of our key topics of expertise i.e. diversity & inclusion, recruitment techniques, returner programmes, employability skills, values & culture.