Mott MacDonald launches second returners programme

Mott MacDonald launches second returners programme

Engineering firm Mott MacDonald is stepping up its commitment to improving equality and diversity by launching a new jobs programme to help engineers return to work after a career break.

The firm’s second returners programme is being run in partnership with STEM Returners, one of the UK’s leading return-to-work scheme providers, and will mainly be based at their sites in Altrincham, Brighton and across Scotland.

The first phase of the programme will have up to nine available opportunities in civil, mechanical, electrical skill sets, with more roles becoming available in 2024.

The new programme will be part of Mott MacDonald’s Re:Connectors initiative, which offers opportunities for experienced professionals who have had a career break and are now looking to rebuild their career or people who are looking to change industries.

Stephanie Barber, from Sheffield, is now a principal water resources consultant, following a previous STEM Returners programme at Mott MacDonald.

Stephanie, who has a BSc Biological Sciences and a masters in Catchment Management and Dynamics, took part in the programme after struggling to gain employment through standard recruitment channels.

She explained: “I had worked in Australia for five years and then for a bottled water company for four years when I came back to the UK before taking some time to go travelling.

“I found that my relatively unconventional route around and in and out of consultancy meant that I didn’t fit in an obvious and typical role which made it hard to get through initial CV screening and a chance to show what value I could bring. I also became pregnant after my trip and when I saw the role with Motts, I didn’t apply initially, but STEM Returners approached me having seen my CV and how it matched the role.

“I jumped at the chance to do the programme and was offered a permanent role for when I returned after having my son. The programme gave me an ‘in’ back to consultancy, which I had almost given up on. I wouldn’t want to change my experience so far; it has given me a perspective and skills different to many other people in my position. This role has given me the opportunity to find and show what I and others like me can bring to a consultancy environment, despite not following the same technical path as my peers.”

Natalie Desty, director of STEM Returners, said: “Stories like Stephanie’s are very common, many of us do not have a conventional career path. It is a shame that so many talented engineers who do not have a typical CV or body of experience face massive challenges when trying to gain work, which is why we are very proud to be entering this new partnership with Mott MacDonald, to help return highly skilled people back into the industry.

“Only by partnering with industry leaders like Mott MacDonald, will we make vital changes in STEM recruitment practices, to help those who are finding it challenging to return to the sector and improve diversity and inclusion.”

Annual research from STEM Returners (The STEM Returners Index), published last week, shows the challenges people who have had career break face, when trying to return to STEM – recruitment bias being the main barrier to entry. Over half (51%) of STEM professionals on a career break say they are finding the process of attempting to return to work either difficult or very difficult and more than a third (38%) of participants said they felt bias because of a lack of recent experience. As a result, 30% of returners say their personal confidence has been affected by the recruitment challenges they face, and their low confidence remains a barrier.

Whilst the STEM Returners programme helps solve the problem of sourcing talent in sectors that need it, it also has the added benefit of increasing diversity in a host organisation. STEM Returners’ population of experienced professionals who are attempting to return to work are 46% female and 44% from ethnic minority groups, compared to 14% female and 9% from ethnic minority groups working in industry.

Jen Ross, regional human resources manager at Mott MacDonald, said: “We are excited to be taking part in the Stem Returners programme this year supporting our inclusion and diversity ambitions. We look forward to welcoming candidates who may have had a career break or change and want the experience of working with a company that is supportive, engaged and appreciative of the skills and experiences they will bring to Mott MacDonald and our clients.”

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