Dawn had been out of the corporate world for nearly two decades when the Oracle UK Returnship Programme caught her eye. She had pressed pause on her career 19 years ago to start a family, but always saw herself returning to the technology industry, which she had loved.
Prior to her career break, Dawn worked in product and program management roles for companies like Intel, Olivetti, and Gateway. Ever the enterprising and resourceful type, she continued to add to her IT education while raising her family, and even started a small glass repair business during this time.
But like so many other women in her position, she worried how her career break would affect her future prospects: Would her skills still be valuable? Would her career experience still be relevant? Would she have to build her career from scratch all over again?
“As women we tend to tell ourselves that the skills we’ve had and the positions we’ve held are no longer relevant in today’s workplace,” Dawn observes. “We even convince ourselves that the additional skills we’ve gained outside of work aren’t important. That leaves you thinking the only option available is to join a company in a junior role and work your way back up, and of course, lots of women then don’t consider returning at all.”
Our Women’s Returnship Programme is designed with women like Dawn in mind. The two-day program re-immerses attendees in current work culture, and arms them with essential skills and knowledge that can help them move their career forward with confidence. This very programme would go on to show Dawn that not only was she still valuable in the IT world—she was exactly what Oracle Cloud Infrastructure were looking for.
Opportunity comes calling
It was a friend who first suggested to Dawn that she should find a Women’s Returnship Programme. “I signed up to a website called Woman Returners,” she recalls, “and shortly after I received an email with details of Oracle’s two-day Return to Work event. I applied and got accepted—but I really didn’t know what to expect or how I’d feel being back in that environment.”
Dawn’s uncertainty didn’t last for long. “It all felt familiar and I knew instantly that I’d made the right decision by attending,” she shares. “During the programme we were introduced to some amazing women that work for Oracle and we even got to talk to other women who had returned to Oracle after an extended career break. It was great to hear about their experiences of the job market, and really encouraging to hear about their careers and what it was like to work for Oracle.”
Dawn was feelingly decidedly more confident about her future when our recruiters asked about attendees’ interest in some open engineering roles at Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. “I wanted to know more about the position so I popped my name on the list. Not long after I was invited to attend a Zoom meeting. It was just before we went into lockdown when I met the OCI team for the first time virtually,” she relays.
Two Zoom interviews later, Dawn had the job in the bag.
Dawn is now two months into her new role as an Oracle Cloud Data Centre Technician in our London data centre. “At the moment I’m getting to grips with the role, learning the systems, and being trained,” she describes. “My role acts as the technical liaison between our technology teams and the data centre. More and more companies are converting to the cloud by switching from in-house solutions to cloud based solutions,” she explains, “and OCI is at the very heart of that: We have the most advanced server compute, storage, and networking capabilities in the world, so it’s exciting to be part of it.”
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is known for its unique team culture and values-led approach to engineering. It’s something that resonates with Dawn, who really appreciates the open and collaborative atmosphere. “There’s a real sense of teamwork and professionalism,” agrees Dawn.
“Everyone is brilliant and they gladly share their time and knowledge; I feel very supported,” she continues. “I was told during the Returners Programme that there’s no such thing as a stupid question, and I can confirm that’s true. You have ample opportunity to learn and grow. The customer is the top priority so it’s all about gaining the right skills to make sure their issues are successfully resolved.”
The biggest lessons Dawn has learned
Having now successfully completed her return to work, does Dawn have any words of wisdom for other women who are contemplating it? “I would most definitely encourage women to attend a returnship programme like this,” she advises. “There’s a growing awareness around the huge benefits of tapping into the skills of women who have taken a career break. Things have changed, but not as much as you might think.”
Dawn explains that our Returnship Programme can give women a greater understanding of what the workplace looks like now. “You’ll leave with a huge amount of confidence and understanding of how relevant your present and previous skills actually are,” she emphasizes. “You’ll come away feeling able to achieve just about anything!”
Dawn leaves us with one final piece of advice for all women in tech. “Sometimes as women we can get too comfortable and only see ourselves in defined roles. Don’t overlook any opportunity,” she cautions, “honestly, just go for it: apply for a role even if your skill set doesn’t directly match the requirements, because attitude is just as important as experience. You are relevant and you have so much to offer. You’ll surprise yourself—I did!”