There are myriad reasons one may find themselves on a career break and many of these were shared at a networking event devised by Mastercard Ireland’s Women’s Leadership Network ahead of International Women’s Day.

Mastercard Relaunch at Dogpatch Labs explored the highs and lows of career breaks and returning to work. The panel discussion at the event particularly highlighted the Mastercard returnship programme, which supports high-level professionals returning to work after an extended career break.

Mastercard returnships consist of a three-month paid work placement with plenty of training. There’s no guaranteed role at the end of it, but Nicky King, who now works as a director at Mastercard UK, is a prime example of what success in the programme can look like. Andrea Crofts is part of the current programme at Mastercard Ireland, and worked in software development for years before taking an extended career break following pregnancy.

We spoke to Crofts and King about their experiences returning to work and their advice for anyone considering either a break or a return to the workforce.


Words by Elaine Burke