HS2 supports return to work programme

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In line with HS2’s drive to create employment opportunities, the Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture is working in partnership with Women Returners and STEM Returners to engage the local community and help individuals get back into work

The Women Returners initiative is aimed at experienced professionals from a variety of backgrounds who took a career break of two years or more.

The programme will offer six months’ paid work placements to six candidates, with a high likelihood of ongoing employment on the HS2 project.

In 2020, the joint venture recruited six high-calibre employees through the Women Returners programme, with a 100% conversion into permanent employment. It hopes this year’s programme will encourage more people to join the sector and secure long-term employment in line with their career aspirations.

The programme particularly welcomes applications from female returners, as this supports HS2’s aim to address the gender imbalance commonplace in the construction and rail sectors.

However, recognising that career breaks for parental care or personal reasons are not exclusive to women, the joint venture also encourages male applicants for the programme.

Mentoring and coaching will be provided to ensure that those returning to work, following a lengthy period of absence, are fully supported.

Following the completion of the 12-week programme, successful candidates may be offered full-time positions. The STEM Returners programme has already supported almost 200 candidates and 96% have been offered full-time roles at the end of their placement.

Essential support

Alice Jennison, equality, diversity and inclusion manager at Skanska Costain STRABAG, said: “We have already hired six people through our return to work programme and we are excited to expand the programme in 2021.

“We offer tailored support to individuals who are returning to work through coaching, training, mentoring and a dedicated buddy.

“There are many talented people wanting to return to work and we welcome applications from people with or without infrastructure industry experience.”

Fabiana, health, safety and wellbeing administrator and 2020 return to work programme graduate, added: “Joining the project through the return to work programme really helped me with my confidence to be ready and prepared to come back to work.

“When you are out of work, it can be hard, and you worry about lots of little things. The support provided is essential.”

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