Gill Blair

Gill – Barclays returner programme

I’d been self-employed for over 10 years as an HR specialist consultant for medium and large businesses. After my third child I did a Masters in Employment Law and that became my specialism. Working from home has pros and cons, but it can become quite isolating. So I decided I wanted to change my working life. I wanted to work with a team of people again, so I started looking around for a women returner programme.

I’ve actually worked at Barclays before – I originally joined the Management Development Programme. So when a friend pointed me towards the Barclays returner programme it sounded perfect.

Right from the very start I really, really loved it. To come in and get such high quality training and development was amazing. One of the biggest advantages of the programme is the unflagging support of your mentor – someone who is really senior in the bank who champions you. These people are so generous with their time. Mine boosted my confidence and gave me encouragement to apply in certain directions.

The training has been exceptional. I was particularly impressed by a workshop on presence and personal impact. All six of us were in the same room getting feedback on how we presented ourselves as female leaders in a predominantly male environment. And it was brilliant – I could see my colleagues, and myself, getting transformed in just half a day. It was really fun and highly effective.

At the end of this I want to take all I’ve learned on to another project – hopefully in the Structural Reform Programme and work with them for the next couple of years.

Being exposed to so many memorable and inspirational female leaders has really excited me. In fact, I feel like it has raised my aspirations – I’m no longer looking for just a job. I really believe that I could be a leader in Barclays.

If you’re considering applying to the Barclays Encore programme my advice would be ‘Just do it’. When I talk to my friends outside the bank about it they are amazed that an organisation is doing this sort of thing. I know so many people who would benefit from this and have so much to offer.

To learn more about this years programme, see here.  You can also learn more about Gill’s return to work with the Barclays returner programme, by watching the video below where she tells her story (note: the 2016 programme was called ‘Welcome Back’, the programme is now called ‘Encore’):