Our key achievements to date:
2019 saw us appoint our first health, wellbeing and engagement partner, Heather Deering, whose role is to lead and expand our MorFit strategy to ensure our activities have maximum impact. MorFit was created according to a holistic approach, with ambitious targets set over various components relating to employee wellbeing; from physical and mental health to financial wellbeing and more.
One pillar is our Mental Health First Aiders – individuals who act as reference points to spot mental health triggers within our workforce and take steps to offer assistance and guidance. Any working environment has the potential to exacerbate mental illness and we understand how crucial it is that our people are equipped to spot warning signs of declining mental health. The campaign, which first began with 20 First Aiders, has swelled to 40, and it’s our goal to reach 80 trained individuals.
‘Managing Mental Health in the Workplace’ training is now mandatory for anyone with line manager responsibilities, and ensuring broad acceptance of mental health and wellbeing is a Group-wide priority. Step-by-step guidance on fostering good mental health, personally, among teams and across the wider business, is provided. This addresses topics such as how to welcome someone back to work after a mental health-related absence and how to approach someone with signs of mental illness.
Rather than rely on our workforce to act, we are bringing the health MOT to our people, to promote early detection and facilitate open health discussions. Since June 2019, together with our health and safety advisers, Heather Deering has toured the length and breadth of the UK, delivering on-site health checks; not only to our workforce but for anyone available on-site.
Blood pressure, body fat, visceral fat, body mass index (BMI), bone mass and metabolic rate are all measured by our health testing equipment. The painless, five-minute process involves the user placing their arm into one machine, stepping onto another and inputting data such as height and age into the computer’s health algorithm. The analysed data is then discussed privately to better understand their health profile, including any identified risks and subsequent actions to be taken.
“It was a shock to find out that our bodies were much older than they should be following our MOTs, which prompted us to make a change. We’ve since introduced Monday weigh-ins at our Broughton branch for those who want to take part and anyone who hasn’t lost weight must donate £5 to charity. Our whole mindset towards exercising and eating has shifted and we’re all seeing real change in our bodies and our mental health as a result. A huge thank you to Heather for looking after us!” Joe Hughes | Project manager at Morson Projects
Numerous track roles involve manual labour, which means operatives must be mentally and physically fit and healthy. Many of our rail trainees have seldom done an intensive day’s work, so we enrolled our Manchester cohort of Level 2 Engineering Apprentices onto a six-week CrossFit initiative to improve their strength, aerobic fitness, agility, balance and flexibility, and to enhance their work readiness. Each weekly 90-minute fitness session incorporated several technical lifts associated with functional fitness, alongside strength and conditioning exercises. The sessions also taught teamwork skills and health and safety best practice, whilst promoting the mental health benefit of exercise.
Morson Group is proud to have signed the Mindful Employer Charter. The Mindful Employer initiative is aimed at increasing awareness of mental health in the workplace. By signing the Charter, Morson is committed to the recruitment and retention of employees by supporting mental wellbeing at work.
The Charter demonstrates our commitment to recognising the good practices already in place, identifying the areas in need of improvement and working towards the aims of the initiative. The Charter for Employers who are positive about mental health is a voluntary agreement, seeking to support employers working within the spirit of its positive approach. The Charter is but one part of the Mindful Employer initiative, which is aimed at increasing awareness of mental health in the workplace.
Like a lot of young people his age, London-based Mahesh Sukumaran found himself joining onto an apprenticeship scheme at a crossroads in his life. “I was in a position where I was in a football scholarship and I got an injury so I just needed to move on to another thing. I heard about the apprenticeships when I was searching through about the London Underground and I came across Morson Training. I thought at the time that was the right decision and I got in touch, got through to an interview and it went from there.” Mahesh found his experience to be of a highest quality: “I thought the trainers themselves were really good, they made sure we all kept up with our work, and made sure we got it submitted on time. The education side of everything as great. The most enjoyable side for me personally was the practical side of things. Me, I’m more of a practical kind of person so I preferred to be on track. When I was going out on track when we had to come inside afterwards to do the write up, it made it a lot easier for me because I knew what I was talking about because I’d done it. That was the best part for me.” Mahesh finished his apprenticeship in 2018. That same year, Morson Training took home the award for Best Apprenticeship at the Transport for London Supplier Awards, an award which recognised Morson Training’s record of putting quality before quantity, ensuring all apprentices are embedded with fundamental skills for their development as employees. This includes aspects of their lives outside of basic rail training, such as finance. The award was also a celebration of Morson Training’s commitment to social inclusion and mobilisation, with representatives within the London boroughs and wider groups working with a network of school and combined authorities to support, challenge and promote the benefits of engineering to a wide range of underrepresented groups. Mahesh has worked on the London Underground in various capacities ever since he completed his apprenticeship: “Currently I’m a PWT working on more of the protection side. I go onto the track and I arrange protection for the group of workers that I work with. This can vary in terms of location, it’s all over the London Underground network. I just go to wherever I need to be on each shift.” When asked his view on apprenticeships, Mahesh echoes the sentiments of many of his peers: “I’d say to anyone who is thinking about doing a rail apprenticeship, definitely do it. I would advise especially if they’re more practically minded, they should go ahead, there’s a lot of progression in the field too. If you stick your head down and focus, you can basically go as far as you want.” Morson Training’s Operations & Apprenticeship manager Andrew Robinson said: “Mahesh joined us at a crossroads in his working life but has gone from strength to strength moving through the ranks and up to PWT. He relished the practical aspect of the apprenticeship and is developing real leadership skills in this new role and has been a great mentor to the new apprentices too, sharing his experiences. We look forward to seeing his continued progress with Morson Group”. Read about another Morson Training apprentice, Ammar, and how an apprenticeship with us helped him get his life back on track. Click hereFind out more
The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently announced details of a ten-point plan for a ‘Green Industrial Revolution’. The strategy focuses on how the government looks to make the UK reach its target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The government has promised to invest £12 billion into the project, which is expected to create up to 250,000 highly skilled green jobs. The first three points mention the sustainable energy sources - offshore wind, nuclear and hydrogen. The government plans on quadrupling the amount of offshore wind produced in the UK to 40GW by 2030, producing enough energy to power every home in the country and supporting up to 60,000 jobs. Up to £500m is planned for investment in hydrogen, including trialling hydrogen homes and even a target of the first town heated by hydrogen. The fourth point of the strategy looks at the plan to transition to electric vehicles, with a confirmation that the UK will end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. In support of this, the government plans to invest £1.3bn in the rollout of charge points for electric vehicles and nearly £500m over the next four years for the development and mass scale production of electric vehicle batteries. Investment in zero emission modes of transport is also planned, with cycling and walking still encouraged. Research projects for zero emission planes and ships are planned to take place. Further into the plan, Carbon Capture is mentioned, with a target of removing 10MT of carbon dioxide by 2030. Another of the points promises to make homes and public buildings more efficient with a target to install 600,000 heat pumps every year by 2028. The ninth point focuses on restoring our natural environment, including the planting of 30,000 hectares of trees every year, while the final point aims to develop cutting-edge technologies needed to reach the new energy aims, with the City of London being targeted to become the ‘Global Centre of Green Finance’. Speaking on the ten point plan, Boris Johnson stated: Although this year has taken a very different path to the one we expected, I haven’t lost sight of our ambitious plans to level up across the country. My Ten Point Plan will create, support and protect hundreds of thousands of green jobs, whilst making strides towards net zero by 2050. Our green industrial revolution will be powered by the wind turbines of Scotland and the North East, propelled by the electric vehicles made in the Midlands and advanced by the latest technologies developed in Wales, so we can look ahead to a more prosperous, greener future. Morson is a leading recruiter in the energy sector. Search our latest jobs in energy hereFind out more
In 2018, Morson Training hit a landmark in recruiting its 50th Track Maintenance apprentice. At this time, the cohort of Level 2 Canning Town apprentices completed their training to become fully qualified gang operatives, fully integrated into the core gangs delivering on key London Underground contracts for the Morson Group. Among these apprentices was then-21-year-old Ammar Sunderland from Kingston. Ammar had recently been released from prison and was consequently looking for an opportunity to get his life back on track and build a career. Morson Training worked to offer him an apprenticeship opportunity on their rail programme: “I was labouring before my apprenticeship and wanted a career with more substance. I found out about MVT online and I’ve really enjoyed getting out on track. It’s great being part of a gang and meeting different types of people from all backgrounds. After this, I want to go on to be a skilled platelayer.” After spending some time in the rail industry upon the completion of his apprenticeship, Ammar switched industries and did another apprenticeship, this time working for automotive giant Rolls Royce. We caught up with him to find out how his career is developing after his Morson Training apprenticeship. “My experience on the Morson Training apprenticeship was great. Importantly, I’m really thankful that they gave me an opportunity because I’d just come out of prison. I was trying to find my feet and they gave me that opportunity. The training was great, too.” Despite enjoying a successful stint in the rail industry, Ammar decided to switch gears within the engineering field. “I enjoyed the rail industry but I found a different opportunity to work elsewhere with a huge company in the automotive world, Rolls Royce, so I thought I would give it a go. I as moving away too which is part of the reason why I chose to leave the rail industry at that time. Rolls Royce is a huge name in the car industry. After leaving the rail industry, I did a Level 2 and a Level 3 Manufacturing Engineering apprenticeship, involving the assembly of the vehicles. It intrigued me and I decided that’s what I wanted to do and I’m still here now. My job now involves being on the marriage part of things, so I’m actually marrying the body to the transmission and engine. That’s basically my day to day role at the Goodwood plant near Chichester. It’s interesting because you see how cars are put together from scratch.” Despite no longer working on the tracks, Ammar is clear that the skills he learned through Morson Training’s rail apprenticeship have given him a vital footing in the world of employment. “I definitely think working as part of a team and under pressure are transferable skills. When you’re on the railway you’ve always got deadlines just like pretty much any other job. Naturally I have deadlines and criteria to meet here, so it helped me be able to use my initiative a lot quicker than before. It also helped me with my problem-solving skills and discipline. Those skills that I learned on the railways are universal an I’ve definitely bought those with me.” As someone with experience of multiple apprenticeships cross two different sectors, Ammar is keen to stress the value of the earn-as-you-learn programmes: “I generally think it’s a good opportunity and if you do well at an apprenticeship you have so many opportunities to progress, not just within the rail industry but outside of it like I have. I’d advise taking that route if you’re looking to find a career. You’re learning and getting paid at the same time, which is great.” Morson Training’s Operations & Apprenticeship Manager Andrew Robinson said: “It’s fantastic to see the progress Ammar has made since completing his apprenticeship with us and it’s very pleasing that Morson Training could play such a key role in helping him on his journey. Whilst things weren’t always plain sailing, Ammar is a great example of what you can achieve with the right attitude, effort and willingness to learn. Positive stories such as this highlight the importance of apprenticeships to both people and businesses in the UK.” Find out more about Morson Training, a leading provider of rail training and apprenticeships hereFind out more
Written by Craig Saxby, recruitment manager – HR division at the Morson Group Whether you're in a sector that has thrived, or one that’s suffered, it has been a challenging year. And one of the biggest challenges for many in the HR sphere has been establishing a clear picture of what skills they will need within their business; not just now, but in the medium and long-term too. While some companies have put a freeze on recruitment, others have been much more strategic in their thinking and tackled the dilemma of reduced budgets, and agile future skills needs with increased pragmatism. The key factor HR Managers and Directors in these organisations have in common is a focus on prioritising graduate and early careers recruitment during the pandemic. It’s a strategy that creates an opportunity for a demographic that has been particularly hard hit by the fall-out from COVID-19. It also mines a diverse pool of talent and has the potential to nurture loyalty that will deliver future commercial advantage, while reducing recruitment need and plugging skills gaps. Generation COVID According to research highlighted by the BBC Panorama programme, people aged 16-25 are more than twice as likely to have lost their job as a result of the pandemic, while six out of every 10 in this age group still in employment have experienced a drop in their earnings. As a result, talented graduates and experienced young people are struggling to find work, often competing against hundreds of others for minimum wage jobs. Meanwhile, many employers are competing for talent for roles that they urgently need to fill, often paying double the salary they would need to spend to recruit a graduate. Moreover, they may be paying a premium in order to secure a candidate that, while more qualified and experienced, is unlikely to be so malleable to the company’s requirements or its culture. It is easy to see how perfectly graduate and early career recruitment fits into that landscape of increased available young talent; evolving future skills needs and a challenging commercial environment. And yet, some employers remain resistant to adopting this strategy, particularly in the SME sector. So, what are the obstacles to this forward-focused approach? Investing in talent for the long term One of the most regularly cited obstacles to graduate and early career recruitment is that the new worker will not be ready to ‘hit the ground running’ from day one. While this is often true, the reverse angle to lack of experience is that young candidates will not bring pre-established work practices or cultures to the company either. Expecting 100% efficiency from any new worker from the minute they arrive is a false expectation, whether they are experienced or not. But the need to nurture skills and build efficiency over time does have to be factored into any graduate or early career recruitment strategy. New recruits will need to be mentored and exposed to environments where they can gain knowledge, skills and experience, which requires the input of the Hiring Manager in both establishing a clear development plan and working closely with the departments that will facilitate it. Larger organisations that have embedded a graduate and early career recruitment policy in their HR strategy know that in each cohort of young recruits, there may only be around 60% that develop a long-term career with the company. But within 12-18 months of their start date that 60% will be skilled, loyal, and culturally aligned to the goals and character of the company. Recruiting these candidates is an investment in bringing on board people who will know the organisation inside out and shape its future. By structuring the training and personnel development path of these individuals, HR professionals can use them as a resource to plug skills gaps throughout the business. In this way, they can overcome the operational challenges and expense of hunting for the right off-the-shelf fit of ready-made experience and opt instead for a bespoke, tailored worker, which, in the future, will enable them to recruit from within their existing talent pool. Of course, larger organisations can hire graduates and early career recruits in volume, knowing that there will be a drop-off. In these environments there are often dedicated early careers teams to support, coach and develop each cohort, working with departments and managers across the business to ensure each recruit has a structured learning plan that focuses on long-term skill development. For SMEs, bringing fledgling talent into the business may be riskier and more difficult to manage. Here too, however, it can provide significant benefits. All the same advantages of tailor-made skills, cultural fit, loyalty and ambition to succeed are just as applicable to the SME sector. The cost benefits are exponentially attractive too. For SME companies, recruiting a highly-skilled, qualified and experienced person to fit a particular role may be cost-prohibitive, but finding a talented and motivated graduate can give them a valuable resource to mould into the person they need for a £20k salary. And by the time this rises to £28K at the end of year two, they have already achieved the person specification they set out to find. Moreover, many graduates and apprentices will remain with the company for 10 - 15 years, reducing future recruitment need and expense. Leveraging an employer brand Of course, the advantages that larger organisations can leverage in order to recruit, train and manage candidates at volume not only include resource, but also brand. Many of the household names that are known as big entry-level recruiters invest significant time on marketing and branding to ensure young people see them as an attractive employer that will offer opportunity and investment. In particular, significant emphasis is placed on attracting candidates from hard to reach groups, which is a key target for many specialist sectors such as engineering. SMEs may not be able to compete with the level of investment these organisations plough into targeting schools, colleges and universities. They can, however, engage with education on a local level and demonstrate to candidates that they will nurture talent and offer scope for career development. The opportunity to make a big difference in a smaller organisation can be very attractive to someone starting out on their career. Mapping the future As a recruitment professional who has, myself, benefitted from being accepted onto a graduate programme when I left university, I know first-hand just how beneficial graduate and early career recruitment can be for both young people and the companies that employ them. From SMEs to big multi-nationals, recruiting goal-oriented, malleable young talent is an excellent strategy for developing the future skills of an organisation and identifying future leaders. Mapping a route to a successful future with a people plan anchored in tailoring the right skills and mindset for your organisation is, surely, a winning strategy. Contact Craig via email at email@example.com to discuss your HR recruitment needs. To search our latest jobs in HR, click hereFind out more
Sale Sharks outfought Northampton to win a thrilling back and forth season opener with Northampton Saints at the AJ Bell. AJ MacGinty got the first Premiership points on the board for the new Sharks season, with a penalty inside three minutes after an infringement at the ruck from Northampton. The Sharks soon got their first try of the night through Akker van der Merwe, after an inside pass from Ben Curry set the South African free to run over. MacGinty was good for the conversion, as Sale led 10-0 inside the opening 10 minutes. Sale had the opportunity to add to their lead in the 13th minute, as Saints conceded a scrum penalty, however AJ’s subsequent kick steered just wide of the sticks. The home side were rampant with attacking intent during this period, as Akker van der Merwe battered through the Northampton defence to send fellow Springbok, Dan du Preez crashing over for the try. MacGinty was good for the follow up. Northampton managed to get a try from a maul to reduce the early deficit to ten points, with Thomas Collins getting the ball down for the visitors and James Grayson adding the extras. Saints began the second half on the hunt and got further points on the board through a James Grayson penalty, putting further pressure on the Sharks. The home side answered back in perfect fashion minutes later however, with Simon Hammersley continuing to enjoy his time on the wing for Sale by getting over. AJ missed the follow up from the edge. Grayson scored another a penalty for the Saints in the 59th minute but in a mirror of the last score, Sale responded to the restart brilliantly, as AJ MacGinty worked his way through the Saints defence with a great dummy to score the try. The USA international converted his own try. The back and forth style of the game continued as Piers Francis stepped his way over for the Saints and Grayson followed up with the kick. Saints won another penalty in the final ten minutes and Harry Malinder dispatched to bring the difference between the sides to six points. As with the nature of the game, Saints conceded a penalty of their own and replacement, Rob du Preez slotted his kick between the sticks for the final points of the game.Find out more
Earlier in 2020 as the UK braced for the first COVID-lockdown of the year, Morson caught up with ex-forces ambassador Andy Reid to find out how a career in the armed forces, various operational tours and subsequent life-changing injury had given him some of the coping techniques required to maintain good emotional wellbeing during the periods of isolation. As the nation was once again put into lockdown in November 2020, we spoke to Andy again about his experiences so far this year, his thoughts on maintaining good wellbeing during the winter lockdown and what he hopes 2021 will bring. What has your year been like in between the lockdowns? "At first, lockdown seemed to have come to an end and things started to look like they were getting back to normal again. We went away with the kids for a bit and took that time to have a bit of a holiday. Me and my wife went away for a nice weekend away for her birthday. Then it was just a case of trying to re-engage with people, rebooking in some of those meetings that had fallen off the radar. I went down to London and had a couple of meetings down there. It was very strange going back to London because it was very quiet. I got the train down to Euston and the taxi lady told me that she’d been waiting there 45 minutes for a fair, which is unheard of at Euston station. It’s been strange to see the bigger picture, people being affected that you wouldn’t normally think so. An ex-soldier friend of mine works for the AA and he said he did a Saturday shift and got called out once. It’s because people aren’t driving to work so they aren’t breaking down or getting a flat tyre. I’d never even considered the impact on the ‘fourth emergency service’ as they’re known as!" What do you think the biggest difference is between this lockdown and the last and what advice would you give to people who might be struggling? "I think the biggest difference with this one is that the kids are in school. The first one the kids were off so that was very difficult. We’ve got the coffee shop and we managed to keep that open during the first lockdown doing takeaways and deliveries but the kids were off and it was hard to manage. I’ve stayed in that same routine, getting up at the same time everyday, the sort of thing that keeps you going through these times. If it’s a nice day and the sun’s out it makes you feel better so it’s difficult when it’s dark outside and it’s 5pm, it makes the day seem a lot shorter and gloomier. I’d just say maybe put some time to one side, do some exercise or outdoor activity if possible. Try and still have some family time and do some fun things as much as you can." What has your role as Morson Forces ambassador been like during this time and what advice do you have for veterans looking to leave the armed forces at the moment? "Unfortunately, the ex-forces roadshows have all gone online so I haven’t been attending those. People have still been leaving the armed forces and those people are still looking to find a job, so it’s just on LinkedIn for me really. My profile has grown and people have been approaching me on there and asking for advice, so I’ve been signposting services and promoting the Morson Forces division on there. It’s been more difficult than normal because there haven’t been any physical roadshows. My advice to people in the armed forces is that if they’re coming to the end of their 22 years in the services is to think about reengaging and staying in the armed forces for an extra year. Hopefully, the COVID pandemic will have come to an end then. But if people still want to leave then there are still opportunities available out there. Infrastructure is starting to move forwards again so there are opportunities in that but it’s been quite difficult during this time to try and do what I’ve normally been doing." How was Remembrance Day for you this year? "Remembrance Day was a big time, trying to still pay our respects to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice was quite difficult. The government advised people to stay at home during Remembrance Day and instead stand outside to pay that respect. That’s what I did, I still put my uniform on and my medals and went outside onto my front and stayed out there to do the two minutes silence. It was difficult not to be able to take part in the parade but I watched it on the TV." What does 2021 look like for you? "Moving into 2021, it’s all about clawing back some of the things we’ve missed. For me personally, getting back a couple of the family holidays we’ve missed out on this year. The 400 miles in 4 days challenge that I was planning on doing in May 2020 was postponed and we’re hoping to get that done again in April. Looking even further forwards, I’m looking to do a big event in October to commemorate the anniversary of my injury in the armed forces. I’m potentially looking at Kilimanjaro for that. I did it when I was 22 in the armed forces so I know it’s something that mentally I should be able to achieve but obviously now with my injuries we’ll see how that goes." Morson's Health, Wellbeing and Engagement Partner Heather Deering gives more advice on how to cope during the winter lockdown month hereFind out more
HS2 will be hosting their 'Meet the Contractor' event completely online in 2020. The third annual event will last from the 23rd to the 26th of November and will begin with three days of webinar sessions including updates on the HS2 programme, presentations by HS2 contractors and webinars showcasing great work taking place across the project. The final day will offer potential contractors the opportunity to find out how to get involved through more than 1,000 15 minute 1-to-1 meetings with HS2’s four Main Works Civil Contractors and the two Stations Construction Partners. Construction of Britain’s new high-speed railway started in September, with 400 apprentices already welcomed on to the project. The line will include over 150 and 32 miles of tunnels – representing billions of pounds worth of contracts. It is expected that HS2 will support over 30,000 jobs when construction is at its peak, with over 400,000 contracts opportunities estimated throughout the supply chain. The aforementioned contracts will vary from different disciplines over the next two years such as water and drainage systems to habitat creation and site catering, as well as traditional construction and engineering contracts. HS2 chief executive officer Mark Thurston discussed the event: “This year’s ‘Meet the Contractor’ event at HS2 will be the biggest ever and we would like to see businesses from across the UK register for the opportunity to talk with our contractors. Experience from previous years shows that this helps put them in the best position to be a part of building Britain’s new high-speed railway. HS2 will be one of the cornerstones of the country’s economic recovery as we work through the challenges of COVID-19, creating and sustaining long term jobs across all sectors.” For more information on the upcoming event head hereFind out more
The introduction of the Modern Slavery Act in 2015 was an unwelcome reminder that human trafficking, forced labour and other forms of exploitation are still a real and prevalent problem across public and private sector industries in the UK. Though the act itself was intended to better highlight the plight of victims, and ensure they were protected and given the support needed to escape this notoriously well-hidden market, it also sought to address the role that supply chains play in masking the connection between business operations and modern slavery. As part of the regulation, there became an official obligation on commercial organisations turning over more than £36million a year to report on the steps they’re taking to eradicate modern slavery from their organisation and supply chains. When it came to recruitment, this meant looking at how we support our clients to achieve those same standards. Prosecutions and convictions in this area are increasing; fines are being imposed on individuals found to be faking documents which make it appear they are eligible for work in the UK, despite them being found to be involved in modern slavery, and officials are clamping down on businesses that don’t make it a priority in their recruitment processes. At the Morson Group, in order to make this area of our operations more streamlined – and in turn, pass the efficiency and increased compliance to our clients – we looked at how technology and artificial intelligence (AI) could become an everyday part of our offering when it comes to screening candidates. Here, four of our Group experts explain how, at every level in our business, technology and AI are playing a role in supporting our clients’ modern slavery mitigation practices. Gareth Morris, head of HSQE at the Morson Group “My role centres on sustainability and mitigating risk. Though we are the experts in providing candidates for clients in our sectors, we need to bring the right people to our own team as a starting point, because we don’t want to inadvertently hire anyone involved in modern slavery; to do so, would destroy efforts to be compliant at every other level of the supply chain. “So, a priority for me is ensuring we have the correct quality management procedures in place to make sure we are recruiting people who are eligible to work in the UK. We’ve overhauled our screening and onboarding processes, using the Fit for Work app (www.fitforwork.ai) to ensure selected remote workers who apply to work at the Morson Group are who they say they are, according to the legal documents they possess. “From there, we can be confident that the teams we build can be safely involved in the supply of resources to our clients, or in purchasing goods and services that help them meet their recruitment agreements. “Additionally, prior to approving a new supplier, we’ll use technology to review the controls which they undertake to eliminate modern slavery and human trafficking from their own operations, particularly in regard to goods imported from outside the UK and EU which are potentially more at risk of involving slavery and human trafficking. “The detection and reporting of slavery is the responsibility of all of us – but it starts with our own team.” Gemma Yetman, interim head of screening at Morson Screening Services “The Modern Slavery Act is one of those things you hope you won’t have many dealings with, but which you need to be prepared for at all times. As a recruitment leader, if we don’t undertake the necessary due diligence in this area, we can incur significant fines which land on the desk of the individual recruiter who didn’t sufficiently check a candidate’s background. However, the reputational damage to our organisation would be even more significant, so we take all steps to avoid that risk. “Day-to-day, I oversee the relationships between our clients and the wider Morson screening team. Our screening platform and associated technology is highly intelligent and is crucial to our overall vetting process of candidates. But we combine it with human intelligence, too. We make online portals available to a client’s recruitment and security teams to ensure everyone has oversight of the steps we are taking to make sure individuals are vetted in line with the Modern Slavery Act. “Often, our screening platform combined with the expert eye of recruiters can pick up on trends that are emerging simultaneously for a group of candidates which have all come to us from the same company, at the same time. We use digital tools to explore their background – who they are, where they’re from, where they live in the UK, and whether they have the right legal documents to work in this country – and regularly see large groups trigger alarm bells that indicate there’s an issue. From there, it’s our job to speak to the client and flag that they might not be a reliable candidate and find alternative, compliant resource.” Charlotte Lewis, interim head of implementation at the Morson Group and head of technology – Vencuro “As a business, we regularly draw on data analysis and AI technologies to create sophisticated vendor management solutions which improve compliance and processes within our own and our clients’ supply chains. Arming Hiring Managers with such intelligence and capability creates a powerful process to deliver screening best practice by reminding teams of their responsibility and key protocols. We all have a role to play and as an added value benefit, we provide support documents which help educate and guide our clients on how to spot the signs of modern slavery. “Vencuro, our in-house vendor procurement platform, helps us identify a client’s specific operational pain points, which we then make the driving force behind our service for them. If they tell us modern slavery is a high risk area for them, we’ll implement the right suites of software to give a client complete visibility of candidates as they go through the recruitment process, and beyond when they are contracted. At any point, they will be able to use the system to check where a candidate is, explore their background and ensure they have passed the relevant tests to maintain compliance with the Modern Slavery Act. “We’ve evolved from supplying clients with very simplistic tools to monitor this complex area of law, to being able to share intelligent platforms which have become integral to their business employing lawful individuals.” Stephen Reilly, customer director & co-founder of facecheck.ai (Fit for Work app) “We’re really proud that, as an organisation, we can use AI and other technologies to make screening and particular health and safety requirements a forward-thinking, intelligent process. Each customer is different, so we configure our digital products to ensure they meet individual needs and make complying with the Modern Slavery Act a more efficient process. “Our Fit for Work app uses facial recognition technology to ensure that the person who was onboarded during the recruitment process is the person who’s attending site, or turning up to an office, on any given day. For customers who think their remote teams might be unreliable and have the potential to substitute other individuals into their role, we can undertake daily or even hourly checks to match a worker’s face with the image on their recruitment profile and the headshot on their passport – which will then declare whether or not a person is eligible to work in this country. “As well as helping a company remain above board from a compliance perspective, it also has other benefits. It saves costs where a client might otherwise have no alternative other than to hire a member of staff to carry out regular identity checks, across multiple sites. It can be a more commercially viable solution in that sense, and also more logistically sensical when you consider, for example, lone workers who are subject to unusual working schedules. Managers can’t always spend their working day checking in on a workforce, so this technology also frees up vast amounts of internal resource.” To find out more about how we can help support your organisation's modern slavery mitigation practices with technology and AI, please contact Morson director, David Lynchehaun David.Lynchehaun@morson.comFind out more
Preparing for the reforms to IR35 legislation in today’s climate is anything but normal, as private sector organisations tackle the disruption caused by the ongoing pandemic, combined with the potential of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit. Despite Government delaying the original April 2020 deadline by 12 months to give additional time to prepare, the likelihood is that many businesses have spent the last few quarters dealing with the after-effects of the virus and adapting their operations and labour strategies accordingly. But with less than six months to go, organisations must once again place IR35 at the top of their talent agenda and begin proactive steps to mitigate the risk that the upcoming reforms bring. Those who fail to do so could face significant financial penalties, as well as the potential legal and reputational damage of not prioritising your greatest asset – your people. This unprecedented year means that many are starting their IR35 preparations completely afresh to reflect their current talent strategies and future demands. Whatever the stage of your IR35 readiness, the majority of cases will include a greater reliance on personal service companies (PSCs) as a way to benefit from the flexibility and other advantages of leveraging a contingent talent pool. As experts in the talent landscape, our upcoming IR35 webinar series brings together figureheads from the Morson Group and some of our specialist and hand-picked IR35 partners to help guide you through the steps on how to support your contractor workforce compliantly. During the 60-minute sessions, the panel will discuss what is changing, your responsibilities as the client, as well as the suite of IR35 solutions that businesses can choose to adopt; weighing up the advantages and threats of each route in correctly defining the IR35 status of your contractor population. Our panel will also offer their expert advice on how to shape and perfect your IR35 processes and procedures and ultimately develop a bespoke compliance strategy that minimises risk to your operations, with the opportunity to ask questions during a live Q&A session. Our Expert Panel: Phil Beardwood, compliance & assurance director at the Morson Group Phil brings more than 35 years’ industry experience and plays a leading role in providing clients with employment law guidance and IR35 support. He is ultimately responsible for implementation and contractual compliance of all new legislation relating to an employment business. Phil is a Member of The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (MREC), a Member of APSCo (Association of Professional Staffing Companies) and a Panel Member of the Morson Group’s Legal Forum. Chris Bloor, compliance & assurance manager at Champion Contractors Chris’ 20 years’ experience in contractor payroll and accountancy services has built him extensive knowledge of all industry-related legislation, including IR35, and sees him play a leading role in supporting organisations throughout the supply chain; which, for the last six years, has included the Morson Group and its clients. Amy Jones, associate at Thorntons Solicitors Amy’s specialist employment law experience honed over the last eight years enables her to provide practical, pragmatic advice in all areas of HR and employment law. She brings significant experience advising private and public sector clients in relation to employment status and navigating the changes to off-payroll working. In what is an unprecedented opportunity to reset the IR35 agenda, ensure your business doesn’t get left behind. Register your place todayFind out more
Rolls Royce has announced plans to build 16 mini nuclear power plants. The project is expected to create up to 6,000 new jobs in the Midlands and the North of England in the next five years, with the government being understood to be preparing to commit £200m as part of its green economic recovery spending plan. The plans come at an important time with six of the UK’s seven nuclear reactor sites due to go offline by 2030 and the remaining one due to be decommissioned by 2030. Rolls Royce lead the consortium undertaking the plans, which include the National Nuclear Laboratory and Laing O’Rourke. It is believed that the small modular reactor (SMR) nuclear power stations would position the UK to secure exports of at least £250bn and that they would revitalise the country’s regional industrial base. Tom Samson, interim Chief Executive Officer of the UK SMR Consortium, said: “By creating a factory-built power station that rolls off the assembly line we have radically reduced many construction risks associated with new nuclear power stations; and by using proven nuclear technology alongside standardised and simplified components, we make it much more cheaply. Our consortium combines decades of nuclear experience and pioneering world-class manufacturing expertise. We represent the strength that UK industry has to offer in our fight against climate change.” The government believes that new nuclear is essential if the UK is to meet its target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050, much like the recently announced offshore wind power generation plans. Rolls Royce think that constructing a series of smaller nuclear plants from modules made in factories as opposed to building huge nuclear projects is the most efficient and cost-effective method going forwards. Costing around £2billion per unit, each plant would produce 440 megawatts of electricity - roughly enough to power Sheffield. The consortium believes the first of these modular plants could be up and running in 10 years, after that they are looking to build and install two a year. Morson is a leading recruiter in the energy sector. Search our latest jobs in energy hereFind out more
As part of our larger Group strategy towards a target of being carbon neutral by 2023, in February this year Morson and Vital Human Resources became the first million litre per year users to adopt Shell's Destination: Carbon Neutral fuel card scheme. Sarah Llewelyn Barden, Head of Fleet Solutions UK at Shell, explains how their broader UK carbon offsetting programme, and the partnerships they have established are helping Shell and their customers avoid, reduce and offset their emissions. A low-carbon fleet future requires an ecosystem of solutions – Sarah Llewelyn Barden Earlier this year, Shell announced its ambition to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 or sooner, in step with society and our customers. Becoming a net-zero emissions energy business is a huge task. The business plans we have today will not get us there. So, our plans must change over time, as society and our customers also change. In my role as Head of Shell Fleet Solutions UK, I’m seeing a drive towards decarbonisation being echoed across the transport industry, which currently accounts for 34% of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions. Our aim at Shell Fleet Solutions is to provide businesses with support at every stage of their transition by offering a variety of services and expertise to help avoid, reduce and offset their emissions. For example, with our e-mobility offer, launched earlier this year, we hope we will help fleets to avoid creating emissions. And, with Shell Telematics, we can help fleets to improve fuel efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint. Offsetting emissions is important where fleets are producing less avoidable carbon dioxide emissions. So, last year, we launched our carbon offsetting programme, to help fleets tackle hard to avoid emissions and drive carbon neutral, while they continue to work towards longer term solutions. Customers can opt-in to have carbon dioxide emissions from their fuel purchases offset for them, for a small fee. We do this by buying carbon credits from Nature Based Solutions (NBS) projects around the world, which help to protect and restore natural ecosystems that absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. These projects also help to improve the livelihoods of local communities and preserve biodiversity and wildlife. I would like to highlight two partnerships that we have established: Morson International and Vital Human Resources, part of the Morson Group, are two of the first signatories to our Shell Fleet Solutions UK carbon offsetting programme, signed by our Fuel Card Agent, Juice Fuel Management Ltd. Over the last year, we’ve been working with these two companies to help advance their wider sustainability goals, alongside fleet manager, David Robinson, who initiated the contract between Shell and the Morson Group of companies. Bridging the gap between commercial vehicle technology with Morson As the largest supplier of contingent labour to the rail industry, the Morson Group operates a large van fleet that services rail contracts nationwide. Nearly 75% of the company’s carbon dioxide emissions are generated by its fleet, so reducing them is a central component to their ambition of becoming carbon neutral by 2023. To support this sustainability drive, Morson has reviewed its fleet vehicles to ensure they are Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) compliant, has introduced hybrid and electric vehicles to eliminate emissions entirely where possible, and has plans to implement smart-grid technology to power 25 EV charge points at its head office – an increase from its current seven – combined with multiple other installations across its nationwide branch network. During this process, the Shell Fleet Solutions carbon offsetting programme has helped to eliminate its difficult to avoid carbon dioxide emissions: Gareth Morris, Group Director, Health, Safety, Quality and Environmental Compliance, Morson Group, said: “Sustainability has been a key objective for Morson for a decade, and we’re passionate about using commercial vehicle technology to improve lives, and the world we live in. Shell has become an important partner for our business in bridging the gap between the two factors. Carbon offsetting is a simple and effective way for us to track our carbon." Promoting people powered progress at Vital Vital Human Resources Ltd is the UK’s largest supplier of skilled personnel to the rail industry and has over 550 commercial vehicles operating across the UK. Reducing CO2 emissions is a key goal for the company. Long term, they are looking to reduce environmental impact by creating a smaller, more reactive safety fleet through hybrid technology, and electrifying its commercial vehicles. In the interim, Shell is working with Vital through our carbon offsetting programme to reduce the impact of difficult to avoid emissions, in a way that aligns with Vital’s ethos. Gary Hardaker, Executive Director at Vital said: “Driving sustainability goals forward has always been considered a collaborative effort at Vital. When the carbon offsetting programme was brought to our attention, knowing that we could work with Shell to reduce our fleet’s carbon dioxide emissions made our decision a straightforward one. Shell is our fuel card provider, and as carbon credits are directly calculated based on our fleet fuel consumption, it allows us, and our staff, to recognise our contribution to wider sustainability goals.” Working towards a net-zero future As we look towards the future of the fleet industry, with the rise of electrification and fuels like hydrogen and LNG also growing in popularity, the industry’s shared ambition and commitment to achieving sustainability goals is clear. While Shell Fleet Solutions continues to progress the infrastructure, data-led solutions and alternative fuels needed to avoid and further reduce emissions, carbon offsetting allows fleets to offset difficult to avoid emissions as they move along their journey to decarbonisation. We are proud to be able to support them now and in the future. Can the coronavirus pandemic provide a shortcut to net zero carbon? Click here to find out moreFind out more
Morson's Health, Wellbeing and Engagement Partner Heather Deering gives her tips and advice on maintaining good physical and emotional wellbeing during the second UK-wide lockdown of the year. For the majority of the first lockdown, we were blessed with unseasonably warm weather and blue skies, followed by a summer that while still far from ordinary, allowed more freedoms for us to enjoy. As we make our way through the second peak of the coronavirus, the thought of adding lockdown restrictions to the earlier sunsets and colder weather that winter brings may prove daunting. Here are some simple steps you can follow to help protect your wellbeing as we enter lockdown 2.0. Keep your routine With darker mornings, it might be tempting to stay in bed longer, but keeping to your regular routine will help to instil a sense of normality. Try to keep to your usual sleep and wake times, eat your meals according to your normal pattern, ensure you’re taking regular breaks, and – most importantly – set aside some time for you. Stay active On these colder days, especially if you’re working from home, getting outside to get some fresh air can end up bottom of the to-do list. But making time for staying active should be a priority – even if it’s just a walk around the block. Try scheduling active time in your diary. It’s harder to forget (or ignore!) your commitment to getting some exercise if it’s popping up on a calendar reminder. Getting out in fresh air and natural light has other benefits too, helping maintain our natural circadian rhythms, keeping us energised, and supporting our mental health. If the weather really is too bleak to go outside you could try an online class. There are so many different exercise and activity classes available for free on YouTube and social media. Our inhouse trainers Barrie and Maria have a back catalogue of classes available on their channels too. Stay connected Evidence shows that those of us with strong social support networks are able to cope better with stressful situations. Whether it's with friends, family, or colleagues – make use of phone calls, video chats, texting, and social media to stay connected with people that you can’t see face-to-face. Make an effort to reach out to people who may be struggling or don’t have a strong support network. Practising kindness is good for our mental health, especially during hard times. Focus on the positives It’s easy to view the changing of the seasons in a negative way, but there are many small joys to be found in winter – whether it’s the opportunity to recharge your batteries by staying in and getting cosy, getting wrapped up and going on winter walks, or indulging in seasonal comfort food. We’ve been through this before and come out on the other side, this time is no different. We’re equipped with the valuable lessons we learned during the first lockdown, and on a larger scale, as a society, we have a much better knowledge of the virus and how it can be avoided and treated. If you find yourself struggling, think back to the first lockdown, what you found to be helpful then and how you can apply that to the current situation. For more advice about efficiently working from home, check out our guide here. Find out more about Morson's commitment to health and wellbeing here.Find out more