Kier launches 'returnship' for career-break workers – Construction News

18 Jan 2023 By Joshua Stein
Kier has developed a new scheme to entice workers back to the industry after a career break.
The contractor’s new “returnship” scheme will see former workers reintegrate into Kier’s business over 12 weeks, which could then turn into a permanent position.
The three-month programme will take the form of a fixed-term contract – including advice, career coaching, mentoring and networking opportunities – that could become a permanent contract.
Mentoring and coaching would then be available for 12 months in total. The scheme is open to all former workers and is not exclusive to ex-Kier employees.
Kier is running its new scheme in partnership with STEM Returners, an initiative to get workers back into STEM-related careers after breaks.
Kier head of diversity and inclusion Tracey Collins said the firm was “committed to attracting and retaining new talent and being an inclusive employer”.
She added: “We understand that people may take career breaks, for whatever reason, and that should not prevent future employment opportunities.
“We are pleased to be working with STEM Returners to provide a programme which not only allows engineers to rejoin the workforce, but which also provides training and support to help them thrive.”
STEM Returners director Natalie Desty said the scheme was aimed mainly at a “hidden workforce” that is overlooked because of a gap on their CV.
“Only by partnering with industry leaders like Kier, 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,” she added.
The widely discussed skills shortage facing the construction industry has now reached “alarming proportions”, according to the Civil Engineering Contractors Association.
A survey carried out by the trade association in November revealed that three-quarters of contractors have issues recruiting all the staff they need.
According to research published by the Construction Industry Training Board this week, nearly 225,000 extra workers are needed to meet UK construction demand by 2027.
In December, the HS2 joint venture between Balfour Beatty and Vinci launched a new partnership with STEM Returners, focusing on jobs such as site engineer and performance reporting manager.
Other contractors including Amey and Wates, and key construction clients such as the Ministry of Justice, are also involved in the scheme.
Kier’s enrolment in the scheme follows a similar returnship it signed up to in 2017 with the Women’s Engineering Society and the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology.
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