Kickstart your career after COVID? AGSM's CareerComeback is open now

Kickstart your career after COVID? Applications for AGSM’s CareerComeback program are open now


Following a career break some women and men can come up against hurdles that prevent them from having a smooth transition back into the workforce. But these experiences don’t mean they lack ambition for their futures.

According to the Women’s Agenda’s 2021 Ambition Report, 46 per cent of women who’ve taken a career break for caring purposes over the past ten years reported they are now more ambitious than ever before.

The report findings show that taking career breaks, or working flexibly while managing caring responsibilities, doesn’t limit a women’s ambitions for their future careers, but increases their drive to succeed

Some of the most ambition driven women reported that in 2021 ‘increasing my salary and earning potential’, as well as looking to further their leadership careers was their main priority.

The AGSM Career Comeback program was launched in 2017 to provide accelerated leadership, business, commercial, and strategy development for individuals seeking to return to the workforce or business after a career break.

Now in its third year, AGSM @ UNSW Business School has launched its Career Comeback program, leveraging insights from the Women’s Agenda 2021 Ambition Report, to support those who’ve taken a career break back into the workforce.

Specifically, the 2021 program has been designed in recognition of research which suggests women have been carrying multiple loads during the COVID-19 pandemic, as they’ve taken on the lion’s share of the domestic and caring responsibilities during the 2020 and 2021 regional lockdowns.

See also:AGSM’s Career Comeback program equips women to reach their leadership potential before returning to the work force

Associate Professor Michele Roberts, AGSM Academic Director, says the 2021 Career Comeback program “will enable people to develop the capabilities required to negotiate the right career outcomes to meet their individual needs” by “removing barriers to career success in these unprecedented times”.

“There is a real need to address what is getting in the way of women – who do not lack ambition – progressing in their careers,” she said. 

Nearly half of respondents for the 2021 Ambition Report said they were concerned about their level of confidence and believed this to be one of the main personal barriers they wanted to overcome with the aim of achieving their career ambitions over the next two years. The second highest concern identified as a barrier was burnout as stated by 39 per cent of respondents.

Teresa Basile, a 2017 AGSM Career Comeback sponsorship recipient, said the program gave her a renewed sense of worth after having her first child.

“I was in a senior leadership role in marketing communications until I had my first child,” she says.

“While on maternity leave, I tried to stay up to date with the latest news and developments in my industry, and across marketing generally, but it was difficult to stay up to date as the market changes so rapidly.”

“Applying for the AGSM Career Comeback program was the perfect opportunity for me to stay connected and engage in a continual learning environment, both personally and professionally. Just being accepted was a massive confidence boost for me and it gave me a renewed sense of worth after being out of the workforce for a while. The program gave me something to focus on and to set goals for myself which was great.”

See also: Opportunities for lifelong learning through AGSM’s Career Comeback course

The 2021 bespoke AGSM Career Comeback program is offering 30 sponsorships designed to get highly qualified people back into their careers after taking a break from the workforce or business.

Successful sponsorship recipients will attend the AGSM Executive Education ‘Empowered Negotiation Skills’ Virtual Learning Short Course, consisting of 14 hours of self-paced and interactive learning, spread over three weeks in November.

The program has been built with flexibility in mind to accommodate those with caring responsibilities and people who are interstate and unable to attend an in-person course due to restrictions on travel.

While in the past Career Comeback has focused almost exclusively on supporting women and men who have taken a career break for at least five years, this year the program is also open to applicants seeking to return to professional careers after a break due to COVID-19.

Sponsorship recipients will also have access to the Career Comeback Network, a professional community offering AGSM content, development opportunities, networking events, and career resources. 

“Our goal is to enable people to harness their ambition and achieve the best possible career outcomes – whether that is returning to a professional role after being out of the workforce for some time, changing professions or industries, or taking a leap into something entirely new,” Roberts said. 

To apply for an AGSM 2021 Career Comeback Sponsorship, click here.

Applications close at 5pm on Friday, 22 October. Successful applicants will be notified by Friday, 29 October

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