We are kick-starting our accessibility journey by adding Recite Me’s web accessibility software to our website to ensure our recruitment process is accessible to everyone.
Recite Me is an innovative cloud-based web accessibility tool that lets you customise how your website looks offering a suite of accessibility tools, including solutions for visitors with dyslexia, visual impairment and learning difficulties.
"The ‘Morson Equals Opportunities’ campaign is our most important programme of activity to date. Aiming to build on our status as a disability confident employer, we are working to actively attract talent from untapped pools, to guarantee there are no barriers in place to hold talented people back.
Adding Recite Me’s web accessibility software to our website is the cornerstone of the campaign, revolutionising the way we engage with candidates online."
- Rebekah Lee, Head of Marketing at Morson International
When you click on the ‘Accessibility Tools’ button at the top of our website the Recite Me toolbar opens with a range of language and accessibility options and settings. There is nothing for you to download or install. No compatibility problems, no hassle.
Recite works across all devices to support the needs of the one in five people in the UK who have a disability and the one in ten people who don’t speak English as their first language.
You can use the Recite Me toolbar’s unique range of functions to do things like:
Change font sizes and colours
Opt to have text read aloud (including PDFs)
Customise background colour
Access a fully integrated dictionary and thesaurus
Translate web content into more than 100 different languages
When you use Recite Me you can save your preferences and settings so that our website looks and works exactly as you need it, every time you visit.
MORSON SPORT | 3 MIN READ Steve Diamond, Jono Ross and more preview the 19/20 season Marland Yarde discusses return from injury We attended the Annual Sale Sharks Summer BBQ last weekend as the club unveiled their new kits for the 19/20 season and the squad previewed the year ahead. The side have just finished their sixth week of pre-season, with only a month to go now until their opening fixture against Northampton Saints in the Premiership Rugby Cup. DOR, Steve Diamond gave an update on where the team are at in terms of their preparation: “We’re at that learning bit, we’ve not had much contact and I don’t anticipate that just yet. The risk and reward element of taking injuries in training, I’m not prepared to risk. we’ll hopefully get them game ready and then the Premiership Cup we’ll start smacking (full contact) people” The new season will prove difficult for many of the top Premiership clubs with both the World Cup and Six Nations taking away many top international players at key stages of the season. However, Sale have invested incredibly well to make sure their side is reinforced and prepared for these periods, with Robert Du Preez returning to the side on a permanent deal after impressing on loan last year whilst his brothers and fellow Springbok internationals, Jean Luc and Dan have also joined on long term deals. Steve discussed how the range of signings are another highlight of the change in direction the club has been making in the past few years in terms of recruitment: “We do the recruitment process and hopefully we pick people who fit in and deliver, we’ve not always had that ability to do that. We always took either people who are at the end of their career or had issues with discipline and we managed to straighten them out. Now, virtually everyone who has come on board is high pedigree, they’re fit, mid 20s, ambitious and have joined the vision of trying to make it a really successful club” Jono Ross will be leading the lads onto the field again in his second season as captain and he shed light on what the experience of balancing friendships alongside stern discussions with his teammates has been like over the last 12 months: “Sometimes you have to put Rugby and the team first and put aside those be popular decisions. I also think last year I took on a bit much so this year I’ll delegate it a bit more and that’s good because there are a group of leaders and senior figures in the squad who are able to take some of that stress on their shoulders. I really enjoy the role I have, I thrive under it and I’m looking forward to the season ahead” Aside from the marquee international signings, this summer has also seen a number of promising academy graduates join the senior squad in pre-season and Jono believes this depth of talent in the side can only raise individual performances: “I think with the competition that’s come in, it drives you to be a better player, everyone wants to play. I think it’s going to be a battle to see who’s getting those positions in the starting 23, the great thing now is we’ve got more quality in depth which will allow us to rotate more so the players won’t be so jaded. The academy boys who’ve come in have really set the standard of our training” Someone that will definitely feel like a new signing this season is explosive winger, Marland Yarde, who missed nearly all of last season due to a devastating knee injury. The return of Yarde will add further firepower to an already electric attacking side that includes the likes of Denny Solomona and Chris Ashton. The 26-year-old described what it’s been like training with the squad for the first time in 10 months: “Firstly, it’s been difficult on my lungs! Having not played for 9-10 months now, it’s been a tough ask especially in that first week. I started doing a lot of running mechanics and strength work but nothing what the other players were doing. Nothing you’re doing actually prepares you for the running with the rugby so I was kind of put straight back into that which is great actually because it allowed me to adjust to that as quick as possible. I’m in a position now where I’m moving really well, my fitness is a lot better than it’s been and I’m feeling good on the field” With fan favourites reappearing and new signings coming through, the excitement for the season ahead is growing by the day but Steve Diamond ensures that it is important to take this journey one week at a time: “If we look at it like the Grand National, we don’t look at the last fence as the winning fence, you’ve got to take the first one and that’s what we’ll do. Every game we’ll take as it comes and we’ll try to build momentum and momentum’s a wonderful thing in sport, if we can get that and keep the confidence up then who knows where we can go” Team Morson will be supporting the Sharks every step of the way this year and we wish all the lads in the remaining weeks of pre-season.Find out more
DIVERSITY & INCLUSION | 4 MIN READ We sat down with Charlotte Curtis, Project Manager at First Group to find out more about her career journey and aspirations for the future. Find out more about Morosn's commitment to diversity. Due to expansion and significant investment in infrastructure, confidence in the UK rail industry is at its highest. Crossrail and the soon to commence HS2 projects are just two of the landmark schemes that are helping the sector to flourish. Consequently, the rail market has the opportunity to be a catalyst for change, as the success of these technical projects depends on reaching into a diverse pool of talent to deliver them. With initiatives such as the (Morson sponsored) Big Rail Diversity Challenge, the rail sector is actively embracing the opportunity to improve gender diversity within the industry and, most importantly, inspiring the next generation of diverse talent. One of the companies at the forefront of rail transformation in the UK is First Group who are a leading provider of transport services in the UK and North America. First Group is one of the UK’s most experienced rail operators, carrying more than 260m passengers across their three franchises and their open-access operation a year. We sat down with Charlotte Curtis, Project Manager at First Group to find out more about her career journey and aspirations for the future… “Currently I work in a project management role delivering the design and build of Feltham Depot. It’s a large project, consisting of 10 sidings, a staff accommodation block, connection to the mainline and enabling works. The purpose of the scheme is to stable the new 701 fleet trains.” Charlotte explains that there is no typical day at work, one of the best things about her role is that it’s varied and always challenging: “My days differ dependent on the lifecycle stage of the project for example during Grip 3 (option selection) I found myself attending frequent IDR (Initial Design Review) sessions with our appointed designer. During the same period, I supported our designer with preparing all of the environmental studies that are required to submit to the Council as we needed planning approval from the from Hounslow in order to commence with the development.” Young women are enormously underrepresented in rail and engineering, and yet stand to make a massive contribution. Charlotte discusses some of the challenges she has encountered working in a male-dominated environment: “I'd like to think I bring diversity to our current team being a full-time working mum of two in her late 30s. I came on board to this project with a fresh pair of eyes and I was able to bring not only my experience within the rail sector but a positive attitude and exceptional organisational skills having juggled two children under the age of two years old.” The use of our railway lines is expected to double in the next 25 years and so to meet this challenge we need a diverse workforce with innovative ideas at the forefront of rail operations. Charlotte chats about her aspirations for the next 5-10 years… “Firstly, being a mum of two girls, I'd like them to witness that women have the power to accomplish anything especially when it comes to their careers. I would also like to increase the value of the type of contracts I'm managing. I'm currently owning and monitoring various workstreams, but I would like to learn new things and develop my contract awareness through training courses.” Charlotte chats about how she juggles being a busy mum of two and working full time: “I’d like to think I maintain a good work-life balance and I think it’s all about using your time wisely. I have a 1.5-hour commute to work every day, I tend to use my journey time to respond to emails whilst I'm on the train. I push myself to go to the gym every lunchtime Monday – Friday, I think this breaks up my day and releases tension. I threw myself into my role at First Group and have encountered many occasions where I’ve ended up spending my nights working on my laptop after my children have gone to bed. Very different from being a full time stay at home mum! I thrive on the fact that I have a good job and great people to work with who show me respect and offer support. I can't imagine not working as it gives me a sense of purpose, so my advice to all those mums who want to get back into work, just do it!” After taking three years off work to have her children, Charlotte was unfortunately affected by post-natal depression and struggled to get back into the industry she loved. She discusses how she got back into work with the help of Morson… “Taking three years off work to have my two children seemed like a lifetime and despite doing admin tasks for my husband’s company during this period, I still felt like I’d lost my identity. I can remember some companies turning me down for an interview because I’d spent more than 12-months working within in a non-rail environment. I felt like I was being punished for wanting to raise a family, but I was determined to get my career back on track and all I needed was one person to believe in me. One day I got a call from a Staci Hodson-Glenn at Morson (also a driven hard-working mum) who was about to give me the break I deserved. She put me forward for a role with one of her clients, First Group and I haven’t looked back since.” Charlotte has now embarked on a new challenge as Project Manager for South Western Railway. She will be working on a 2-year project worth 5.3 million, delivering CCIF (customer and community improvement funded projects). We wish her all the success and look forward to catching up with her about her new role soon! Morson’s dedication to diversity As an organisation which operates in sectors hardest hit by imbalances, Morson is dedicated to improving diversity within the industries we work; in 2017 our CEO, Ged Mason OBE, pledged to double the number of female engineer contractors we have working for us by 2020, a figure which we’re well on the way to achieving. In March, we announced our first official diversity ambassador, CEO and founder of Northern Power Women, Simone Roche MBE, to help us on our journey to creating truly inclusive workforces. Simone joins a growing list of existing Morson ambassadors across business, sport and the armed forces. Find out more about our partnership with Simone here. For more information on Morson's commitment to diversity check out our Diversity Portal. Or to find your next opportunity search jobs here.Find out more
MORSON NEWS | 6 MIN READ Morson Group CEO, Ged Mason talks the Morson Group DNA, his father's legacy and why 'data is the new oil' Find out more about the story behind the Morson Group. Morson Group is set to hit a billion pounds in turnover next year and founder Ged Mason says he wants to give back to the community and move with the times. Morson Group places 11,000 people in new jobs each year, with more than 14,000 contractors working in 37 countries. Its turnover is currently in excess of £900m. It is little surprise then that according to this year’s Rich List, Ged Mason appears to be worth a cool £170m. But Mason hasn’t lost any of his Salford charm, warmth or down-to-earth persona. The chief executive of Morson Group, set to turn over £1bn next year, is jovial and patient as he poses for our cover shoot on his office roof on a rainy Thursday afternoon. Even on a murky day, you can see the Beetham tower to the left, the Trafford Centre to the right and, one of Mason’s favourite views, Old Trafford in the distance. “You can’t see City, thankfully,” he jokes. Back in the office, I notice one of Lowry-protégé Harold Riley’s paintings of Salford on the wall. The depiction of the legendary ‘dirty old town’ is in Morson’s DNA. Mason explains how the company was started by his father Gerry Mason, and again he gestures out of the window to Trafford and Salford below us. “My father was a design engineer. He worked across the way there.” Gerry Mason served his apprenticeship and went to Toronto, Canada. “Initially it was because of a passion for jazz music. He did various work assignments and we emigrated there when I was a child. His last assignment was Detroit. “Martin Luther King got assassinated and there were curfews, so my mother decided she wanted to come back to England.” I ask why the company is called Morson and not Mason. “Dad had a colleague called Corbett. They put the names together. It started at Eccles from his house and his first office was less than half a mile away. In the early days, [the business] concentrated on supplying engineers to established companies in the North West.” In 1969 specialist recruiters for the engineering sector were not common in the UK. Mason says: “It wasn’t that common or mature. We were providing staff for design project work. You wouldn’t necessarily want a full-time person to do, say, stress engineering, so it was to cover that peak and trough. In those days it was pioneering and educating clients to the usage of temporary workers.” Morson initially concentrated on the North West on busy industry sectors. Mason says: “Aerospace in Chadderton, Wharton and Samlesbury, nuclear with Sellafield and its head office in Warrington. It was a central hub for engineering.” Ged Mason also went to Canada after university and “cut my teeth in a recruitment business”. I ask him whether it had always been his ambition to work in the family business. Mason says: “I knew I wanted to go into my dad’s business – it was exciting seeing my father work in the summer holidays. Another playground for me.” Working with family is some people’s idea of hell. I ask Mason if there was ever any friction in the 12 years, he shared an office with his father. But his memories of it are all fond. He says: “It doesn’t fit for everyone. People who say they couldn’t work with their family, that’s a crying shame. “My dad was patient with me when I was wet behind the ears. I had my own opinions and he allowed me to express myself, knowing I had him there for advice and guidance.” He says they worked out a way that any disagreements were made to fizzle out quickly: “If we had a heated disagreement one of us would get up and go outside, make a brew or walk around the car park, and we’d come back and move on.” Mason explains how Morson’s expansion came about: “The international expansion came about from the recession and three-day working. There wasn’t the investment. Oil and gas is feast or famine. “So, my father, with his connections in Canada, did some work supplying engineers there while the market in the UK was quiet. He had offices in Toronto, Los Angeles and Houston, as well as Holland and the Hague. Then the UK picked up.” When Ged Mason came into the business, he had to learn the ropes. “I started, like most people, brewing up. Sharing an office with various managers I learnt the trade and moved around.” Within Morson’s offices are BAE Systems project rooms with blacked-out windows for security. “At the time [BAE Systems] were building Tornados and the Eurofighter Typhoon. There was a lot of work in aerospace and nuclear." “We have a market-leading position in those sectors. We’ve extended into rail.” Along with Manchester United and paintings of old Salford, there are also references in the office to the military. And providing jobs to ex-soldiers is close to his heart. Mason says: “[For] the armed forces, coming back into the work environment is tough. They are hard-working, the productivity is there. We have over 2,000 ex-armed forces working for us. We won a gold award from Prince William in recognition of that.” The business has not all been plain sailing. Spells of private equity and public ownership have been rocky, to say the least. Mason says: “In 1989 my father decided to sell to Burns-Anderson, a public company chaired by Sir John Harvey Jones. We were looking to float but aborted because Burns-Anderson approached us. But all that glitters is not gold. We ended up buying it back from administration [in 1992]. “We had to put our pensions into cash-roll the new business. My dad struggled with that. But we worked together well, the company rallied, and we never lost a client.” Mason says he was keen to put his stamp on rail. “TfL had engineering requirements, so I sort of camped out down south and developed the rail activity.” Mason took the role of HR director, which gave him a seat on the board. In 1997, Gerry decided to retire to Spain and Ged Mason took over with some new board directors. He says: “The business was moving away from being relationship-driven, whereby if you knew the drawing office manager, that was the route to gain business. Large companies were going out to tender on services like ours, so we had to put tenders out and be vetted. Mason adds: “I’ve never been frightened to employ people cleverer than me. The spirit of Morson is we hunt together in packs. We muck in and have a good spirit and camaraderie.” In 1999 Morson sold half of the business to venture capital. “Then we bought it back, took it private and floated on AIM for six years. But the economy meant our share price got affected.” In the same year, it was reported that founder Gerry Mason sold the company to a management team led by Ged. The deal was funded by Barclays Private Equity, which took a 55 per cent stake in the company. At the time the deal valued Morson at around £55m. The new buyout five years later, for an undisclosed sum, was also being led by Ged Mason and reportedly supported by financial director Paul Gilmour and managing director Kevin Gorton. Did Mason have any regrets over the private equity and AIM days? “No. It’s been a learning curve and staff have always been rewarded.” With offices in Italy, South Africa, Toronto, California, Texas and Australia and 1,200 staff throughout, the aim is to hit a billion pounds in turnover, but Mason is relaxed about the prospect. “We set a target five years ago for a billion. We won’t hit it this year, but I think we have every chance next year. Turnover is just vanity though, it’s just a milestone.” Morson’s corporate responsibility is a higher priority, it seems, than hitting the billion. Mason says: “We want to give back and sprinkle dust where we can.” The Morson office was built on land bought from Peel. Mason says: “It’s purpose-built with gyms and prayer rooms. “When this office was built 13 years ago it was quite ahead of itself.” Mason says his two sons George and Matthew are unlikely to follow into the family business. He smiles warmly as he says each will “find their own path”. He adds: “One is mad on cars and the other has a job at Sale Sharks [of which Mason is a part owner] helping the kit man.” Morson has celebrated 50 years this year with a big corporate party attended by Manchester musicians Russell Watson, M People, and Manchester poet Tony Longfellow. “Sir Alex came”, he adds. “The staff enjoyed it.” "We have to look at the garlic bread. What is the future? Technology is the garlic bread of the future. Data is the new oil. - Ged mason" It is also launching ‘50 weeks of giving’ where every week a different charity will be helped. Mason quietly mentioned his pal Alex Ferguson but is far from a name-dropper. He doesn’t, for example, mention receiving his OBE from Prince William in 2016 or the racehorses he has co-owned with Ferguson and Jeremy Kyle. The company has raised some £2m since 2006 supporting around 20 charities including the Seashell Trust, Motor Neurone Disease Association and soldiers’ charity ABF. The company has also made a commitment to contribute £500,000 to the Makerspace at Salford University, which Mason calls “an incredible space with laser 3D cutters”. The Mason family charity has also helped the university with a scholarship for 40 students studying engineering degrees. Morson is no longer just about engineering recruitment. I ask Mason what the thinking is behind broadening horizons. He answers with reference to the legendary Peter Kay sketch: “We have to look at the garlic bread. What is the future? Technology is the garlic bread of the future. Data is the new oil. A lot of engineering’s roles are bleeding into technology. We have cyber-security, IT, analytics. We’ve moved into those places over the years.” He says it “would be nice to have a business that’s working while we’re sleeping with clicks on the web”, but adds that “you still need the human touch”. At times even Mason himself is surprised with his company’s success story and insists he is still serving his own apprenticeship: “Sometimes I have to pinch myself over all the exciting projects we work on. Nuclear power, submarines, aircraft carriers, the Typhoons.” He says staff retention is “up there with the best”, adding that last year the company had a 40-year service award. Along with the ‘lifers’, Mason is also adapting to a new crop of recruits. He says: “The millennials and the noughties’ attitude to working for a company for life is not their objective. It’s more to gain different experience – the freedom and flexibility. But if people are working from home it’s very difficult to get the same camaraderie.” Did you know we're the UK's leading technical engineering recruitment company? Search for your next opportunity with Morson here.Find out more
HEALTH & WELLBEING | 3 MIN READ Research suggests that practising meditation can change not only our behaviour and emotions but also the structure and functionality of our brain. Find out more about the benefits of meditation in the workplace. Download Morson's mental health toolkit for the workplace which explores how to approach a conversation around mental health. We all know how different kinds of mental activities can change the brain, crossword puzzles help increase neuroplasticity, playing an instrument enhances our brain function, speaking more than one language builds up our cognitive reserve and exercise promises vital brain food. But what effect does meditation have? Meditation and mindfulness are certainly hot topics at the moment and the mantra of repeat, refocus and re-centre may be a powerful way to boost the types of intelligence that matter most. Research suggests that practising meditation can change not only our behaviour and emotions but also the structure and functionality of our brain. In today’s stressful, fast-paced world, it’s more important than ever to bring your awareness to the present. One of the best ways to do this, of course, is through meditation. The workplace can often be one of the biggest sources of stress in your life with anxiety and burnout lurking closely behind. But studies suggest that meditation can activity increase productivity too, with one 15-minute session of mediation resulting in a 22% reduction in mind-wandering at work. "Meditation more than anything in my life was the biggest ingredient of whatever success I’ve had." – Ray Dalio, successful philanthropist A study from the Max Planck Institute found that the three different types of meditation training are linked to changes in different brain regions. Participants, aged between 20 and 55, meditated for three months practising three different types of meditation: The Presence module – focussed awareness meditation where participants learned to focus their attention, bringing it back when it wandered, and to attend to the breath and to their internal body sensations. The Affect module – which helped to enhance empathy and compassion for others. The Perspective module – similar to mindfulness or open-monitoring meditation. This practice encouraged observing your own thoughts non-judgmentally and enhancing understanding of the perspectives of others. After the study the researchers scanned the participant's brains and found the following: Meditation in the ‘Presence’ module was linked to an enhanced thickness in the anterior prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which are known to be strongly involved in attention. ‘Affect’ meditation was linked to increased thickness in regions known to be involved in socially driven emotions such as empathy. Meditation in the ‘Perspective’ module was associated with changes in the brain that understand the mental states of others and inhibiting the perspective of yourself. The results show a direct correlation between the type of meditation and brain function, demonstrating how meditation can change the brain in just a short amount of time. The study is evidence that whilst shifting brain function, meditation can improve well-being, and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. The benefits of meditation in the workplace There are many organisations that believe that meditation can make you a better leader with companies like Apple and Google offering free meditation classes for their employees. As this blog has explored, it is scientifically proven to help reduce stress and give you better insights into your daily life, including work. Below are four benefits of meditation in the workplace: Improved focus and productivity An improved mood and less stress Better relationships and teamwork Improved job satisfaction and engagement Mental wellbeing at Morson The topic of mental wellbeing isn’t new to us at Morson – it’s been part of our conversation for several years. Our activity has centred on creating a culture and working environment which is open, unbiased and inclusive, underpinned by professional support and resources for employees in need. As part of our ‘Morfit’ initiative which aims to encourage our employees to exercise at varying levels, we host twice-weekly Yoga classes where a trained yoga instructor visits our office to host a class. In May, we launched our Mental Health First Aider network which provides personal support across our UK office network and aims to weave a solid support network into our working culture. Find out more about our Mental Health First Aiders here. As part of our mental health awareness initiative, we have responded to employee feedback requesting more practical guidance around mental health in the workplace. As a result, we have created a new toolkit which looks at subjects such as signs and signals someone might be experiencing a mental health issue and how to approach a conversation around mental health. Click here to download the toolkit.Find out more
Working as Head of Marketing for a global staffing business that operates within some of the sectors hardest hit by diversity imbalance, it has been a priority of mine from day one to embrace and promote diversity, both within the Morson Group and amongst the many stakeholders we support. I was completely honoured to be named on Northern Power Women’s Future List 2019, having been recognised by the judges for my role in challenging workplace and industry norms with regards to mental health, accessibility and diversity balance. I’m immensely proud with the progress that we’ve made, particularly in industries such as construction, nuclear, tech, aerospace and engineering, which are crying out for greater diversity. Through targeted campaigns that use role models to empower women and young girls and alter perceptions, we have successfully broken stereotypes within traditionally-male roles and workplaces. Since launching the Diversity Hub and Inclusive Role Models Portal, on morson.com we have increased female applications by 69% compared to last year. In addition, our ‘Morson Equals Opportunities’ campaign has ensured that every candidate gets an equal chance to develop their career by being able to access the same opportunities to gain and maintain employment. By adding accessibility software to our website, which provides adaptations for visitors with dyslexia, visual impairment and learning difficulties, we have made our online recruitment process accessible to everyone. 27% more of the UK population can now access our online content, apply for roles and seek recruitment support than could previously. This year, Northern Power Women adopted the #WeCan theme, inviting women to come forward as role models to celebrate their achievements and share their commitment to gender diversity. As a female leader in a male-dominated industry, I’m proud to be a role model. Yet for me, the issue of diversity and inclusion goes far beyond gender and being named as a Northern Power Women future leader provides me with a platform to demonstrate how, in order to establish a truly inclusive workplace, we need to break down barriers across gender, mental health, sexuality, accessibility and more. By taking a unified approach, I hope to drive even more positive change across our business and key stakeholder groups. Morson has already made a strong commitment to becoming a more accessible employer, living by its core values. We’ve committed to the Inclusive Culture Pledge, meaning we will receive dedicated support to help us improve diversity in our workplace, as well as partnering with Stonewall, Europe’s largest lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) charity, as part of their Diversity Champions Programme. It is also important that we raise awareness around mental health and alter attitudes within the workplace, by opening up the conversation and creating a culture where employees feel safe to talk. This is exactly what Morson are working to achieve through our mental health first aiders programme, mental health whitepaper, staff training and more. Using our connections in the sporting world we have championed autism and reduced the stigma around mental illness. Partnerships with, premiership rugby team, Sale Sharks, and the boxing community have activated awareness and challenged perceptions of these topics, particularly with regards to traditional notions of masculinity. I feel strongly that workplace inclusivity should be on the agenda for every employer and I’m encouraging all businesses to take inspiration from the Morson Group and implement at least one positive programme of change this year. Not only is it the right thing to do to ensure that no one is excluded from reaching their full potential, but it’s good for business with numerous proven commercial benefits. By adopting a fully inclusive approach as an employer, you are widening your reach and creating a richer and more diverse talent pool. Originally posted on the Northern Power Women website https://www.northernpowerwomen.com/npwawards-nominations-with-rebekah-lee/ #NPWAWARDS nominations are now open! You can nominate individuals and organisations (including yourself) from all sectors, genders and regions across the north. Take time shine a light on others – everyone is a role model to someone! Find out more and nominate here.Find out more
INDUSTRY NEWS | 2 MIN READ Researchers at the University of Warwick have repurposed old electric vehicle batteries as a small energy storage system (ESS) for developing countries or isolated communities. The project has been backed by Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), who supplied the batteries and components from the I-PACE A group of researchers at the University of Warwick have successfully repurposed old electric vehicle batteries as a small energy storage system (ESS) for developing countries or isolated communities. Using batteries from the Jaguar I-PACE, each unit holds 2kWh of energy capacity which could be repurposed to provide electricity to small shops, farms and residential homes. Prof James Marco, Lead Researcher on the project said: “When an electric vehicle’s battery reaches the end of its useful life it is by no means massively depleted” “It has simply reached the end of its useful life in a vehicle. It is generally accepted that an EV battery has reached the end of life when its capacity drops to 80 per cent of a fresh battery. While this is no longer enough to satisfy drivers, it remains immensely useful for anyone who seeks to use the battery in a static situation.” Researchers have stated that there’s no reason that partially depleted batteries from EVs can’t be used in a second life as long as they are used reliably and sustainably. However, the project does pose a number of challenges such as being able to preserve the batteries to retain their charge capabilities and the lithium-ion cells required protection from over-charge and discharges. Additionally, the team need to ensure the ESS compatibility with other used battery cells and modules from other manufacturers, whilst developing an easy and economical maintenance regime. “This is a great result that not only provides a highly efficient repurposing solution for automotive batteries but which could also change lives in remote communities,” Prof Marco said in a statement. “We are now looking for support to allow these new units to be further developed and tested in remote or off-grid locations.” The researchers at the University of Warwick said that they have had help overcoming some of the challenges from the High-Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult centre, based at the university, and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), who supplied the batteries and components from the I-PACE. The research project was part of the Innovate UK funded Project: 2nd hEVen (2nd-Life Energy Storage Systems) and is supported by the WMG High-Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult. (Images sourced via WMG, University of Warwick) Want to work on the next generation of vehicles? Morson recruits engineering professionals for major brands in the automotive industry. Find out about the latest job opportunities here.Find out more
CAREER ADVICE | 4 MIN READ Ensure that your choice of words reflects the very best version of you We've listed 5 words you should avoid like the plague when you’re in a working environment Did you know that your choice of words can influence other people’s perception of your professional abilities? Both in an interview and throughout your working career, you want to ensure that you’re not using words that could make you appear less confident or even capable than you are. Whether it’s via email, on the phone or face to face, the words you choose are your opportunity to ensure that you’re being perceived in the exact way that you want. To ensure that your choice of words reflects the very best version of you, we’ve listed 5 words you should avoid like the plague when you’re in a working environment… Maybe An absolute no-no in professional communication. Maybe is defined in the dictionary as “a possibility or uncertainty”. Why would strive to be uncertain at work? Regardless of the topic, do the legwork and make sure you’re informed. via GIPHY Honestly In most situations, it’s not necessary to state that you’re being honest when replying to a question at work. Does that mean that your other statements and answers were not completely honest? When you’re credible, you should be straightforward every time and no qualifier like 'honestly' is needed. Things To start sounding more credible and confident in professional situations and leave the word ‘things’ out of your sentences. Things can be perceived as a valueless word and can be replaced easily with a more descriptive and meaningful expression. via GIPHY Example: “There are many things that make me a great candidate for this job” “I am a great candidate for this job because of X,Y,Z” – State the things! Hopefully You shouldn’t ‘hope’ in the workplace, you should act and deliver. Example: “Hopefully we can catch up on Monday” “I have booked a meeting for us to catch up on Monday. Let me know if that is ok with you” Stuff Vagueness never goes down well in an office environment and if you want to give off the impression that you’re a subject matter expert, using ‘stuff’ as a describing word doesn’t really do you any justice. Be more specific with your answers and you will go far. Above all, always remember that words are powerful and should be chosen and spoken with care. It will take some getting used to but once you’ve mastered this way of communicating, you’ll see how your choice of words not only makes your co-workers perceive you as a capable professional, but it will improve your self-confidence in the workplace. Now you’re all set to ace that job interview and succeed in your new career! Search the opportunities with Morson here.Find out more
INDUSTRY NEWS | AEROSPACE | 4 MIN READ The European Space Agency (ESA) and Barbie have collaborated to showcase the achievements of Samantha Cristoforetti, the only active female astronaut in Europe. The campaign will begin with a number of motivational videos being released, in which Ms Cristoforetti will show young girls from the UK, Germany, France and Italy around the ESA European Astronaut centre in Cologne. Get inspired by our ‘Inclusive Role Models’ series which uses video and written interviews to showcase inspirational people from all walks of life, across industries such as engineering, technology and sport. The European Space Agency (ESA) and Barbie have collaborated to showcase the achievements of Samantha Cristoforetti, the only active female astronaut in Europe. The doll aims to spark the imagination of the next generation of astronauts, space scientists and aeronautical engineers to encourage young girls into the space industry. The new initiative forms part of the toy brand’s Dream Gap Project, an on-going initiative with the goal of closing the “dream gap” – a phenomenon that refers to the combination of barriers that impede girls from achieving their dreams or reaching their full potential. Isabel Ferrer, European Director of Marketing for Barbie, said: “We are proud to launch this collaboration with the ESA with a clear goal: to inspire girls to become the next generation of astronauts, engineers and space scientists.” “Barbie has always shown girls that they can be anything, giving them the opportunity to interpret different roles through play and embark on countless number of careers encouraging imagination and self-expression.” “We know how important it is for girls to have role models and this new ESA collaboration helps us to take this to an astronomical new level.” The campaign will begin with a number of motivational videos being released, in which Ms Cristoforetti will show girls from the UK, Germany, France and Italy around the ESA European Astronaut centre in Cologne. (Images sourced via ESA/Mattel) To accompany this, the ESA is planning to produce kids-targeted content on Barbie’s YouTube channel which will showcase Ms Cristoforetti’s achievements in space. As part of the partnership, Barbie also commissioned a report to try and gauge parental attitudes and knowledge around STEM subjects. The survey of 2000 parents revealed that 80% admitted that they lacked the basic knowledge of STEM careers. To address this, Barbie and the ESA have released a set of helpful STEM career tips for parents and guardians to both understand and teach their children that there are many career opportunities in STEM-related fields. Ersilia Vaudo-Scarpetta, Chief Diversity Officer for ESA, said: “The European Space Agency is strongly engaged in promoting girls’ interest in STEM subjects and space careers in particular, as we need a diversity of talents to imagine and enable the future in space.” “We are therefore proud to launch ESA’s collaboration with Barbie, highlighting inspiring role models as the astronauts and encouraging girls to believe in themselves, look at the sky and dream high.” Although astronaut Barbie doll isn’t available to purchase, Samantha Cristoforetti has been presented with a one-of-a-kind doll, representing her in her spacesuit. However, the ESA has suggested that we can ‘never say never’ as the collaboration is long-term, meaning there could be the opportunity to develop a doll in the future. Morson’s Inclusive Role Models Operating in traditionally male-dominated sectors, Morson has long been a vocal contributor to the diversity conversation. Our ‘Inclusive Role Models’ campaign uses video and written interviews to showcase inspirational people from all walks of life, across industries such as engineering, technology and sport. To get inspired by our role models series, click here to read, watch and absorb the interviews and stories. Our aim is to showcase the achievements of relatable role models to the younger generation in order for them to take inspiration and look up to. We hope to #TransformTheFuture by breaking down barriers and encourage a wider talent pool into the industry; whilst also providing a positive platform to encourage career transitioning between sectors. The concept of ‘seeing is believing’ is extremely powerful, with studies showing that students are more likely to choose particular careers when they’re exposed to situations and scenarios where they can imagine themselves in their shoes. If you would like to read the stories of our role models, specifically working in the Aerospace industry, check out our favourites below: Thales’ project with Oman Air is drawing to a successful close thanks to skilled senior systems project engineer, Estel Dandridge. Read about how Estel has led a global team developing a new signature GUI, branded ‘OMAN Aria’. We interviewed software engineer at Thales, Ivy Man about her work with the Emirates Project Design Authority who are spearheading the Engineering team working on the Boeing 777X aircraft. Read more about the inspiring project here. Morson is the No.1 aerospace recruiter, supplying the aerospace and defence industry for 50 years. Ready to find your next role? Search our Aerospace & Defence jobs here.Find out more
Over the course of our three IR35 forums in Manchester, London and Leeds, our keynote speakers answered a range of questions from our audience of end clients, most of whom we’re from large enterprises in the private sector. Their queries give real insight into the concerns and clarifications needed by professionals who will be directly affected by the changes IR35. As part of our informed approach to IR35, we bring you the answers from our experts at Weightmans LLP, Champion Contractors and Morson, to help you get up to date with the legislative changes to off payroll working, due to come into effect in April 2020. The questions below are answered by IR35 specialists from employment law firm Weightmans LLP, contractor services company Champion Contractors and Morson Compliance Director, Phil Beardwood. For more information, download parts 1-5 of the IR35 Knowledge Series in our FREE IR35 eBook 'How to Navigate Changes to IR35', visit our IR35 portal or contact us directly at IR35@morson.com. Who is liable for determining IR35 status? The end client, the agency or the contractor? What are the risks associated with IR35? How do I define whether a worker is inside or outside of IR35? How do I analyse the scope of my contractor’s role? Who within a company should lead the IR35 legislation? As a hiring manager, should I treat my permanent employees and contractors differently? Once determined, is the IR35 status of a contractor set? Q1. Who is liable for determining IR35 status? The end client, the agency or the contractor? Mark Leach, Weightmans LLP - under the new plans, the responsibility for paying income tax and national insurance shift from the contractor to the hiring party and the agencies supplying them. If you are engaging an agency as part of your supply chain, as of April 2020, the liability will sit with the fee payer of the worker i.e. the agency. However, the determination of status must be assessed by the end client. Q2. What are the risks associated with IR35? Phil Beardwood, Morson - Unfortunately, the HMRC tools and information required for clients to make an informed choice have been widely criticised (particularly the online CEST). Given the penalties for making an incorrect employment status determination, some clients have opted to make blanket ‘inside’ IR35 decisions. As an end client, what is your appetite for risk? If you deem all your workers in scope and your competitor deems them out of scope, you’re going to lose your workforce. You won’t be able to win contracts because you won’t have the workforce to deliver them. Q3. How do I define whether a worker is inside or outside of IR35? Pili Fernandez-Mahoney, Weightmans LLP - You need to think about, how that person is being treated on a day to day basis. Do they receive the same benefits as a permanent employee? Benefits such as use of the company canteen or a parking space are other ‘personal circumstance’ factors which are going to feed into you determining whether your contractor is inside or outside of IR35. It comes down to the fact that you must be treating your contract and permanent employee’s differently, because their employment status is different. Q4. How do I analyse the scope of my contractor’s role? Chris Bloor, Champion Contractors – Going through an Employment Status Indicator document will help you (the client) to get a picture in your mind of the role and how the contractor is typically providing their services. All questions must be considered and answered honestly however for some, you may not be able to categorically confirm the answer (e.g. true or false) and in these circumstances we would ask that you provide further comments. When compiling the report Weightmans can consider these comments and provide guidance on how they could be interpreted by HMRC and allow you to further consider the question compliantly and with reasonable care. This will allow you to understand and filter your populations in a much clearer way. Pili Fernandez-Mahoney, Weightmans LLP – The devil really is in the detail. When filling out determination reports it is important to be as detailed as possible. In our experience vague or short answers will arouse suspicion with HMRC. Even though you may know the answers, it is important to prove why a contractor works in a particular way or does a particular job, in order to avoid having to explain again further down the line. Merely putting ‘confidentiality’, ‘data protection’ or ‘security’ as a determination won’t mean anything to HMRC; these words mean nothing without some explanation behind them. Q5. Who within a company should lead the IR35 legislation? Phil Beardwood, Morson - When clients are wondering where the assessment of IR35 should sit, our advice is to form a stakeholder group and ensure that a representative from each relevant department is involved. They must engage with hiring managers, as this population will know what the contractor is doing on a day to day basis. The stakeholder group must educate the hiring managers in respect of IR35 as it is they who need to understand the difference in the way that contractors and permanent employees must operate. Q6. As a hiring manager, should I treat my permanent employees and contractors differently? Phil Beardwood, Morson - Yes, because they are different. The advantage of having a contingent workforce resourcing plan in place and procedures to follow is that hiring managers may not know whether the contractor is PAYE, Limited or Umbrella, and the contractor is therefore treated as an employee. Of course, you must treat every worker with respect and as part of the team, however you need to decide whether they should be sat in team meetings to discuss company pensions, for example. IR35 presents an opportunity for the hiring managers to review their processes. Q7. Once determined, is the IR35 status of a contractor set? Chris Bloor, Champion Contractors – Not necessarily. Some things that may have determined a contractor out of scope can be easily resolved i.e. attending the staff Christmas party or using a company fuel card. If you take these things away from the individual, you can bring them easily back within scope. Get your copy of the full IR35 e-book here or, for an insight into what your contractors are thinking download the results of our contractor survey here.Find out more
INDUSTRY NEWS | 2 MIN READ The world’s first fully electric and emission-free container barges are to set sail this autumn. They have been dubbed the ‘Tesla of the canals’ as their electric motors will be driven by 20-foot batteries. It is believed that the first 6 barges alone could remove a staggering 23,000 trucks a year from the roads in the Netherlands. The world’s first fully electric and emission-free container barges are to set sail this autumn from the ports of Antwerp, Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The vessels have been specially designed to fit under bridges to enable them to transport goods around the inland waterways of Belgium and the Netherlands. With the possibility of incorporating the technology to be able to sail crewless, the vessels are expected to revolutionise the way we transport mass goods. They have been dubbed the ‘Tesla of the canals’ as their electric motors will be driven by 20-foot batteries which have been charged on shore by the carbon-free energy provide, Eneco. Thus, if they prove successful, the barges are expected to vastly reduce the use of diesel-powdered trucks for moving freight in the future.The 6 barges are approximately 52 metres long and 6.7m wide. They are fitted with a unique power box giving them 15 hours of power. As there’s no need for a traditional engine room, the boats have up to 8% extra space, allowing them to carry more cargo. Designed by the Dutch company, Port-Liner, the 100 million-euro project has been supported by a €7m subsidy from the European Union and can carry approximately 280 containers. Chief executive of Port-Liner Ton van Meegen told The Loadstar: “There are some 7,300 inland vessels across Europe and more than 5,000 of those are owned by entrepreneurs in Belgium and the Netherlands. We can build upwards of 500 a year, but at that rate it would take some 50 years to get the industry operating on green energy.” TOP BLOG | Britain’s future frigates - BAE invest in virtual reality to construct the ground-breaking Type 26 destroyer It is believed that the first 6 barges alone could remove a staggering 23,000 trucks a year from the roads in the Netherlands, replacing them with the zero-emission barges. Port Liner has stated it could produce around 500 barges a year, revolutionising the freight industry. However, there has been rumours that similar, all-electric motors could be retrofitted into older ships. We will look forward to hearing about their maiden voyage in the coming months. (Images sourced via The Loadstar) As the largest supplier of Marine trades in the UK, Morson has some of the most exciting job opportunities in the Marine & Shipbuilding industry. Check them out here.Find out more
IR35: THE INFORMED APPROACH | CONTRACTOR SURVEY AND REPORT Do the majority of contractors deem themselves inside or outside of IR35? How contractors are determining their status? How many contractors have considered or are even aware of IR35? What do contractors want from their agency and the end client? We recently surveyed over 1,000 contractors in our community, of which, almost 97% revealed that they operate through their own Limited company. Discover how prepared the contractor community is and what their concerns are, regarding the impending changes to off payroll working. Are contractors considering their IR35 status? With the private sector implementation date very much confirmed for April next year, our survey results show that IR35 confusion is still prevalent among the contractor community, particularly around understanding whether they are deemed inside or outside. Out of 1,200 contractors almost 97% operate through their own Limited company, yet of these, more than a third (35%) have not considered their IR35 status within their current assignment. From those who did answer yes to ‘have you considered your IR35 status?’ a quarter (25%) of these then went on to say that they were either inside or unsure of their status. How are contractors currently making IR35 determinations? Unsurprisingly, 75% of contractors surveyed considered themselves to be 'outside scope' of IR35 (an indicator of IR35 status as being a genuine contractor. Outside scope means the contractor is a genuine business and is therefore operating outside of the IR35 rules) on their current assignment, with only 7% deeming themselves to be 'inside scope' (an indicator of IR35 status as being an employee for tax purposes. Being ‘inside IR35’ means that the contractor is considered an employee of the end client and therefore is subject to PAYE) and 18% are still unsure about their status. The largest proportion of contractors who deem themselves inside or outside of scope are currently making these determinations through their accountants (41%). With a further 37% using their agency and 22% of contractors using an independent specialist to confirm their status. It is clear that better education is needed, with more than half of all those surveyed saying they don’t understand how to determine their own IR35 status and a further 40% are completely unaware of the upcoming reforms. Top contractor queries and concerns 600 respondents left detailed questions, from these queries we have detailed the over arching sentiments of the contractor community. We will be producing responses to some of these queries as part of our on-going commitment to supporting both our end clients and contractor communities through this change in IR35 legislation. Contractors are concerned that changes to IR35 legislation in the private sector signals major disruption to the market over the next 12 months. Contractors are interested to know how agencies and end clients are working together to mitigate this disruption. Many were asking for guidance and more information on the changes and how to ascertain their status. Contractors main concerns surrounded if they will end up at a financial disadvantage post April 2020 and that end clients will follow the public sector and go for a 'blanket' approach, deeming all contractors to be inside IR35. Many contractors questioned whether these changes to IR35 signalled the end of contracting all together and 10% indicated they are looking leave contracting or looking for work abroad as a direct result of IR35. What does this mean for end clients? Based on the results, a privately-run businesses will likely have a number of contractors that are operating through their own Limited company, yet are deemed inside of IR35 legislation. Failure to identify these individuals and put proactive measures in place to determine whether a contractor falls within the scope of IR35, could see you become liable for paying back tens, if not hundreds of thousands of pounds in unpaid tax. Communication is key. As of April 2020, you, the end client must make sure that you inform the worker of the IR35 determination of their assignment. The contractor will be entitled to ask the client for information on IR35 status and challenge IR35 decisions, HMRC expects end clients to put in place a mechanism to allow a contractor to challenge a decision. It’s crucial that you begin to prepare for the April 2020 deadline now. We’ve partnered with IR35 specialists, Champion Contractors and Weightmans LLP, to ensure our clients have access to the specialist knowledge and experience needed to remain compliant. A sense of complacency within the industry could see some businesses leaving their preparations until it’s too late. Doing so has the potential to cause upheaval to your operations, impact ongoing projects and increase the level of risk faced by your organisation. Together with our experts, we can work with you to communicate these changes to your workforce, develop good housekeeping procedures to effectively analyse and manage your contingent labour and implement an independent IR35 testing tool that can successfully determine the status of your contractors and minimise the risk to your business. Our advice is to act now. Download the full report hereFind out more
We attended the Annual Sale Sharks Summer BBQ last weekend as the club unveiled their new kits for the 19/20 season and the squad previewed the year ahead. The side have just finished their sixth week of pre-season, with only a month to go now until their opening fixture against Northampton Saints in the Premiership Rugby Cup. DOR, Steve Diamond gave an update on where the team are at in terms of their preparation: “We’re at that learning bit, we’ve not had much contact and I don’t anticipate that just yet. The risk and reward element of taking injuries in training, I’m not prepared to risk. we’ll hopefully get them game ready and then the Premiership Cup we’ll start smacking (full contact) people” The new season will prove difficult for many of the top Premiership clubs with both the World Cup and Six Nations taking away many top international players at key stages of the season. However, Sale have invested incredibly well to make sure their side is reinforced and prepared for these periods, with Robert Du Preez returning to the side on a permanent deal after impressing on loan last year whilst his brothers and fellow Springbok internationals, Jean Luc and Dan have also joined on long term deals. Steve discussed how the range of signings are another highlight of the change in direction the club has been making in the past few years in terms of recruitment: “We do the recruitment process and hopefully we pick people who fit in and deliver, we’ve not always had that ability to do that. We always took either people who are at the end of their career or had issues with discipline and we managed to straighten them out. Now, virtually everyone who has come on board is high pedigree, they’re fit, mid 20s, ambitious and have joined the vision of trying to make it a really successful club” Jono Ross will be leading the lads onto the field again in his second season as captain and he shed light on what the experience of balancing friendships alongside stern discussions with his teammates has been like over the last 12 months: “Sometimes you have to put Rugby and the team first and put aside those be popular decisions. I also think last year I took on a bit much so this year I’ll delegate it a bit more and that’s good because there are a group of leaders and senior figures in the squad who are able to take some of that stress on their shoulders. I really enjoy the role I have, I thrive under it and I’m looking forward to the season ahead” Aside from the marquee international signings, this summer has also seen a number of promising academy graduates join the senior squad in pre-season and Jono believes this depth of talent in the side can only raise individual performances: “I think with the competition that’s come in, it drives you to be a better player, everyone wants to play. I think it’s going to be a battle to see who’s getting those positions in the starting 23, the great thing now is we’ve got more quality in depth which will allow us to rotate more so the players won’t be so jaded. The academy boys who’ve come in have really set the standard of our training” Someone that will definitely feel like a new signing this season is explosive winger, Marland Yarde, who missed nearly all of last season due to a devastating knee injury. The return of Yarde will add further firepower to an already electric attacking side that includes the likes of Denny Solomona and Chris Ashton. The 26-year-old described what it’s been like training with the squad for the first time in 10 months: “Firstly, it’s been difficult on my lungs! Having not played for 9-10 months now, it’s been a tough ask especially in that first week. I started doing a lot of running mechanics and strength work but nothing what the other players were doing. Nothing you’re doing actually prepares you for the running with the rugby so I was kind of put straight back into that which is great actually because it allowed me to adjust to that as quick as possible. I’m in a position now where I’m moving really well, my fitness is a lot better than it’s been and I’m feeling good on the field” With fan favourites reappearing and new signings coming through, the excitement for the season ahead is growing by the day but Steve Diamond ensures that it is important to take this journey one week at a time: “If we look at it like the Grand National, we don’t look at the last fence as the winning fence, you’ve got to take the first one and that’s what we’ll do. Every game we’ll take as it comes and we’ll try to build momentum and momentum’s a wonderful thing in sport, if we can get that and keep the confidence up then who knows where we can go” Team Morson will be supporting the Sharks every step of the way this year and we wish all the lads in the remaining weeks of pre-season.Find out more