SCS Railways, HS2’s main works construction partner for the Northolt to London Euston section of Britain’s new high speed railway, is today (11th January 2021) launching two new careers-focused initiatives designed to support those who have taken a career break to re-enter employment.
In line with HS2’s drive to create employment opportunities for local people and those from disadvantaged and underrepresented groups, the Skanska Costain STRABAG Joint Venture is working in partnership with London-based organisations Women Returners and STEM Returners to actively engage the local community and support individuals who have had a career break back into work.
The first initiative, aimed at women returners, is designed to support those who are finding it difficult to secure employment following a career break of two years or more. SCS Railways will launch the programme by offering 6 paid work placements, which last for six months. It aims to offer permanent employment, working on the HS2 project, to those who successfully complete the programme.
SCS Railways has already recruited 6 personnel through the Women Returners programme and hopes this new initiative will encourage more people to join the sector.
Ambrose Quashie, HS2 Ltd’s Skills Manager for Greater London said:
“We have set robust employment and skills targets for all our contractors to ensure that local people benefit from opportunities to work on this once in a lifetime project.
“This is a fantastic example of how we are ensuring that those in need of additional support to kickstart their career can really benefit”.
The programme initially aims to encourage 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, SCS Railways isn’t excluding male applicants onto the programme.
Alice Jennison, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at SCS Railways explains:
“We have hired 6 people through our Return to Work programme and we are excited to expand the programme in 2021. We offer tailored support for 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.”
SCS’s second recruitment initiative is an innovative STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) focused programme. 6 places will be available on the 12-week programme which is designed for individuals with a STEM-focused career background, such as engineering, or those who have worked in the STEM sector. Mentoring and coaching will be provided to ensure that those returning to work, following a lengthy period of absence, are fully supported.
Following 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.
“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”. – Fabiana, Health, Safety and Wellbeing Administrator and Return to Work programme graduate.