I’m Francis, born and raised in the Philippines. I graduated in Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering at Mapua University in 2005 and practised my career in one of the leading construction companies in Philippines, specialising in Road, Tunnel and Bridge Construction.
I started my career as a civil engineer aide up to managerial position. After less than 10 years of tenure in one company, I moved to Qatar to look for professional growth. I started as an office engineer and later held an extraordinary position that directly reporting to the CEO and COO. I call it an extraordinary position because this job involved Technical Design and as well as cost control. After 4 years in Qatar, I moved back to the Philippines for family reasons.
I worked in the Philippines for an engineering consultancy company but because of the Covid pandemic I moved to the UK with my two Daughters. During that trying time of the pandemic, the priority in our life was to stick together as family. My wife worked at a hospital as a nurse here in UK. Having a nurse in the family added more difficulties to us because we need to protect the people in the hospital and our family, so as a family we spent many long periods in isolation to keep patients safe.
At first, I thought that that it was very difficult to find job because every company was struggling due to the pandemic. However, it was now more than a year where I was without work. I realised that it was not about the pandemic, but about me. I came to the UK without knowing enough about civil engineering, culture, and industry in the UK. Most of the companies were looking for professionals with at least 3-5years experience with some knowledge in rules and regulations, has some knowledge in legal requirements in relation to construction industry, some were also looking for a graduate in the universities here in UK.
I was unemployed from Sept 2020 to March 2022. I tried everything to find a job, even applying for trainee engineering positions. After the frustration and exasperation, I gave up looking for a job related to engineering. I started to look for different work and ended up working as a Low Lift Forklift driver in supermarket warehouse. After some months had passed in that company, I realised I was not happy because I missed the industry I worked in for 16 years.
I found STEM Returners and applied for a position on the STEM Returners programme with Amey Consulting. Claire from STEM Returners soon called and I explained my situation and we had a conversation full of hope that there is a possibility that I can succeed in looking a job that I dreamed of. STEM Returners arranged an employer interview with Amey Consulting, and although I didn’t have any UK competence to demonstrate in the interview, my skills and experience was recognised and I was offered a place on the programme.
Before I joined the programme I used the time to prepare myself of the rules and regulations, standard specification of the government, any local legislation and also practise the computer design software that I had stopped using during my career break. During my 12 weeks programme. Amey Consulting, supported me in the new environment that was in front of me. They had a learning module that helped me refresh my good practice of being a good employee they also give advice on how to deal with the situation and how we improve our self in 12 weeks. They also invited professionals to help and give advice.
STEM Returners helped me return back to my career and not loose my profession due to working in a new environment. I believe that STEM is for every country and for everyone. To the STEM Returner like me, don’t stop hoping that, there is a career for you.