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    Vital Recruits 13 Rail Apprentices to On Board Next Generation

    Thirteen apprentices from Manchester and Liverpool have embarked on new careers in the rail industry as Salford-headquartered Vital Human Resources, part of the Morson Group, launches its latest apprenticeship programme. More than 160 people applied for the 13 positions, which combine on the job training with academic learning as the apprentices work towards achieving a Level 2 NVQ in Rail Engineering Track Maintenance during the next 14 months. During the first six weeks of the programme, the cohort will develop the basic skills and competencies required to build a successful career within the rail industry, combining classroom techniques with hands-on training delivered on a replica track environment at Vital’s headquarters. This first phase is delivered in partnership with Morson Training in preparation for the apprentices to embed themselves into gangs and gain first-hand experience and learning on a live railway as they are mentored alongside skilled operatives. This latest cohort of apprentices builds on a robust training agenda within Vital Human Resources, which possesses an outstanding track record for delivering talent at all levels to the rail sector, with a number of its ex-apprentices continuing to climb the ranks today. Gary Hardaker, executive director at Vital Human Resources, said: “Creating jobs, especially for younger people, is an economic priority and it couldn’t be a more exciting time to enter the rail industry. Despite the backdrop of COVID-19, the sector is booming thanks to a significant programme of investment which has only been bolstered by the Government’s commitment to ‘build, build, build’. The infrastructure market is crucial to boosting the economy and upskilling the next generation of talent to ensure we have the pipeline of resources to deliver such important programmes of activity is a key part. Our commitment to supporting the next generation is what makes our apprenticeship programme so successful. Some training schemes are simply a ‘box ticking’ exercise but we invest significantly in our people and have developed a comprehensive programme, taught by industry experts, which gives our apprentices the essential skills to get ahead in their careers and ensure they add true value to our operations and our clients’ programmes. Our apprentices have the opportunity to work on some of the UK’s biggest and most exciting infrastructure programmes – such as HS2 – and we must attract and train skilled talent today to ensure we have the resource to deliver such complex programmes. It’s no secret that the rail industry is facing a shortage of talent and a rising age profile, which are just some of the reasons why programmes like HS2 now mandate strict skills, employment and education (SEE) outputs on their supply chain to ensure they are used as a vehicle to overcome industry-wide issues. Developing the talent required to deliver the Government’s infrastructure agenda is part of our DNA and unlike some volume and low-skilled apprenticeship programmes, which are driven by commercial gain, we choose to keep our cohorts small so that we can ensure their training acts as a springboard into the sector and lays the foundation for the rest of their working life.” Apprentice, Jordan Coleman, age 24, said: “I was studying sports science at university but always knew I wanted to learn a trade with greater security and the rail sector appealed to me as I’m very hands-on. I had friends say I was too old to be an apprentice but thankfully I didn’t listen and carried on applying. I’m looking forward to what my future holds with Vital and creating a legacy that I can be proud of.” Apprentice, Liam Eaton, age 18, said: “I’ve dabbled in different construction trades and had been looking for a career where I could go far and make something of myself that can last a lifetime, and that’s what I’ve found. I’m looking forward to eventually qualifying, whilst earing a regular wage so I can afford my own place and buy a car.” Vital Human Resources, together with the wider Morson Group, is delivering a robust equality, diversity and inclusion agenda that has been specifically designed to encourage greater representation within the industries it operates. Gary added: “We always recruit the best person for the job but we’re acutely aware that our rail apprenticeship programme continues to attract an all-male cohort. As a result, we are working with our peers, together with schools and colleges, to demonstrate first-hand the breadth of opportunities within the rail sector. It’s our mission to ensure our workforce is reflective of the vibrant communities around us and that the industry is viewed as an aspirational career path to all, regardless of gender, race, sexuality, economic background and more.” The company has successfully adapted its recruitment and training processes and procedures, including the creation of a purpose-built COVID-secure classroom, to ensure it protects the health and wellbeing of its apprentices and the wider workforce. Ged Mason OBE, CEO of the Morson Group, said: “I’m pleased that, despite COVID-19, our apprenticeship programme continues to press ahead. Our dedication and commitment to assisting and creating jobs, across all sectors, will always remain part of our DNA and a core value of our business. The contribution that our apprentices make to our business is crucial in maintaining our ability to deliver the vital skills and resources to rail projects throughout the UK, and there is no more important time than now. What we do plays a critical role in developing and nurturing tomorrow’s talent today, as these people are our skills pipeline of the future.” Vital Human Resources is also a member of The 5% Club which connects dynamic employers and industry leaders with a unified commitment towards embedding earning and learning opportunities with their business and delivering true social mobility and diversity.

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    Morson Group Joins the Sizewell C Nuclear Consortium

    Morson Group has become the latest company to join the Sizewell C Consortium. The Sizewell C Consortium, a group of more than 100 leading companies and organisations who have come together in support of getting Sizewell C, the proposed nuclear site, built. Morson has an unrivalled track record in nuclear recruitment for the provision of both temporary and permanent personnel across the civil and military applications and working on some of the largest nuclear projects in the UK. We have managed projects and supplied labour across the project lifespan - from initial design and safety studies through detailed design programmes to final plant commissioning, inspection and handover. Morson International is joined in the consortium by Vital Human Resources, also part of the Morson Group. When it comes into service in 2031, Sizewell C is expected to meet 7% of the UK’s low carbon energy demand for the next 60 years. The project will create 25,000 nuclear jobs and up to 1,000 apprenticeships, with £14billion (70%) of the construction costs directly benefitting British businesses. The importance of the construction of Sizewell C, a replica of the currently-under construction Hinkley Point C grew recently with the news that Hitachi has withdrawn from the proposed Wylfa nuclear projects on Anglesey. This project would have been another important milestone in the UK’s nuclear supply chain and would have created thousands of jobs. In June 2020, EDF Energy, one of the two companies in the construction consortium, officially announced that it had applied to the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), who are responsible for the safe operation of nuclear sites across the UK, for the licence required to build and operate Sizewell C. This is another key milestone in the process to get the site built by 2031 and on the road to creating thousands of nuclear jobs for the UK economy. Cameron Gilmour, Spokesperson for the Sizewell C Consortium said: “Britain has built a world beating nuclear industry supply chain which supports thousands of highly skilled jobs across the UK. The Sizewell C supply chain is ready and willing to help government with the green economic recovery. A firm commitment on the future of Sizewell C will help sustain the nuclear supply chain and can deliver significant benefits to the UK’s low carbon economic prosperity” Other businesses as part of the consortium include ARUP, Mott MacDonald, Kier and Doosan Babcock. To find out more about some of the nuclear projects we have worked on, click here. To view our latest nuclear jobs, click here.

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    Sentencing Whitepaper: What the New Rules on Criminal Record Disclosure Means for Recruitment

    The new Sentencing Whitepaper released by Justice Secretary Robert Buckland has introduced new rules on criminal record disclosure rules to employers. Aimed at helping rehabilitate offenders, the announcement will have an effect on the jobs market in the UK with citizens who hold minor criminal records having more options opened to them. The new rules involve a reduction in the requirement to routinely partake in criminal record disclosure for non-sensitive roles. Custodial sentences of up to a year will become spent after a further 12 months without reoffending, which is down from the four years currently in place. Sentences between one and four years will no longer be required to be disclosed after a further four crime-free years. This is down from the seven years currently in place. Sentences in excess of four years will not automatically be disclosed once a seven-year period of rehab has been served. This is a significant shift from the current rules, where offenders must disclose this information to a potential employer for the rest of their lives. Kerry Redmond, Head of Background Screening and Security Vetting at Morson, commented on the criminal record disclosure changes and what it means for recruitment: “The government has been sensible in its approach, which will see thousands of ex-offenders with lower-level convictions aiming to work in non-secure or sensitive environments no longer having to disclose their criminal history, should they meet the criteria set out. The approach continues to protect our most vulnerable communities and sectors and re-enforces the importance of background screening across all areas, yet allows for the rehabilitation of ex-offenders programme to progress positively and means some of the largest scale recruitment programmes of our time should now have access to additional talent they previously may have been forced to reject based on more stringent vetting requirements.” Other rule changes to be introduced in the whitepaper include ending the release of offenders sentenced to between four and seven years at the halfway point, instead requiring them to serve two-thirds of the term before eligible for release. ​ If you are an employer and require background checks, we can help. Contact backgroundscreening@morson.com for more information

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    Applicant Tracking Systems: Making Your CV Sharper, Better and More Concise to Beat the System

    Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are often used when recruiting for roles that will likely draw a large number of CVs. An ATS is used to streamline hiring processes and speed up the initial candidate selection process by automatically removing those whose experience or qualifications make them unsuited to the role without relying on human intervention. Once the key CVs who most accurately fit the job descriptions are identified, human recruiters get involved to further analyse each description. Applicant Tracking Systems could easily be seen as just another wall of red tape that separates your CV form a potential interview, and it may seem disheartening to know that there is an additional level to get through before you are considered by an actual person. However, the advent of ATS use actually poses a great opportunity for candidates to fine-tune their CVs to make them more concise, eye-catching and ultimately successful. Beat the ATS and improve the overall quality of your CV at the same time: Keyword customisation An ATS is most interested in the keywords it has been told to look for. A job description is often split into keywords to make it easy for the ATS to ascertain your suitability. This means that your CV can’t be a one-size-fits-all solution. It must be something that’s tailored based on the position. This also means that within your descriptions of previous roles, keywords based on the job description you’re applying for should be included where relevant in a clearly formatted way. Consider summarising your experience using the same language used in the job description. It’s important not to just fill your CV with endless keywords (especially not in hidden font colours). The systems are intelligent enough to know when there are too many keywords and could filter your application out. Use full acronyms (and check spelling) Applicant Tracking Systems, while intelligent, may not recognise colloquialisms or acronyms used to illustrate experiences or qualifications. Be sure to write out these things in clear, unabbreviated form as many times as required without being tempted to shorten them. This will allow the system to register each time the phrase is used accurately. Likewise, if there are other acronyms that can be used to describe your experience or qualification, be sure to use whichever one is used on the job description that you’re applying for. The system will likely not be intelligent enough to recognise it otherwise and your perfectly suitable CV might end up in the wrong pile. Formatting is key Format your CV in a way that is easy for a machine to read. Remember, these systems may be intelligent, but they aren’t as clever as humans when it comes to certain elements, particularly formatting. Use clear heading titles, remove any unnecessary lines or charts and keep everything simple. Forget headers and footers, diagrams or any other additional formatting that might be confusing for an ATS. If the role requires, once you’ve made it past the ATS and are in connection with a human recruiter, save your more elaborate CV for then. These steps might make it seem like you’re being forced to adapt yourself to suit the needs of a recruiter, when in fact it should be them doing the work. In truth, an ATS is actually not only making the life of the recruiter that bit more convenient and ultimately improves response times for the candidate, but it’s also encouraging you to streamline and improve your CV and ultimately make it more successful – ATS or no ATS. Find your next dream role. Search our latest jobs here or speak to our expert recruiters by calling 0161 707 1516

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    HSQE Director Gareth Morris: COVID-19 and Health & Safety Reporting

    ​Gareth Morris is group director for Health, Safety, Quality and Environmental Compliance for Vital Human Resources and the Morson Group. Vital provides track, trades, safety-critical and technical personnel to Network Rail and other principal contractors throughout the UK, working on the rail infrastructure. Gareth is also a member of the CIRAS committee. Gareth spoke with safety reporting organisation CIRAS about health and safety reporting in the wake of Covid-19. Do you think Covid-19 has had an impact on health and safety reporting? Covid-19 has had a huge impact on safety reporting. Data from our close call app Morson Safety Matters indicates that we have placed so much emphasis on Covid-19 (quite rightly, as it is literally a matter of life and death) that all other safety matters have taken second place. I personally noticed this in one of our company’s car parks. A person had not reverse parked. When I spoke with them, they replied that, with all the instructions about coronavirus they felt that other matters were less important. That is human nature, and we have to re-emphasise that all other safety measures are equally important. The Health & Safety Executive has reminded us that, while we have implemented many additional control measures to manage the risk of Covid-19, we must maintain the management of all other risks and regulatory requirements placed upon us as employers. Why does reporting matter so much as we adjust to life after lockdown? Recent events have been more than enough to test even the strongest nerves. And as operations restart, we must work hard to build our people’s confidence so they can get on with their work safely and effectively. Part of that is recognising that we’re all facing new risks and challenges that are out of our comfort zone. But it’s also really important that we don’t ignore or underestimate the ‘bread and butter’ risks in rail operations. They existed before the pandemic, and they still exist now. Speaking up is as important as it has ever been. We want to send a message to our staff that their concerns will be taken seriously and that their wellbeing, safety and security are of paramount importance for the industry. What part does CIRAS play? Although our people have plenty of support, it would be disingenuous to say that everything always goes to plan. That’s not real life. If there is an issue on track, we fully encourage our people to flag up their concerns by reporting the issue immediately on-site, or by using the Morson Safety Matters close call app. But I recognise that there may be circumstances in which someone feels reluctant, for whatever reason, to use our direct reporting channels. That’s where the CIRAS service comes in. It gives our operatives another option for voicing their worries – and in so doing provides us with another route for gathering health and safety intelligence. For us, CIRAS is the backstop if, for whatever reason, someone is not happy with the way their safety concern has been handled. It won’t be used very often as we have comprehensive reporting channels and we believe in an open culture of reporting. That said, it is reassuring for us, and for those who work for Vital, that it is there just in case the process breaks down somewhere and we are not aware of it. CIRAS is a safety net that closes the loop on safety reporting. It’s one of the checks and balances in our system that helps protect staff from unplanned outcomes while addressing safety issues in a pragmatic and mature manner. Find out more about Morson's Safety Matters close call reporting app which allows contractors and employees to report on-site incidents and accidents

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    Morson Sponsored Big Rail Diversity Challenge Goes Virtual!

    Morson Group was proud to once again by the Key Sponsors of Women in Rail’s annual Big Rail Diversity Challenge 2020 on Wednesday 9th September 2020. Traditionally a team event consisting of a series of physical, team-based challenges, for the first time ever the event took place completely virtually due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns. Despite this, organisers Nimble Media were keen to ensure the day was a fun challenge for all participants. Delegates in the virtual event participated in physical and mental challenges, which included Escape Room, Murder Mystery, Haka and Body Rap - aimed at demonstrating that gender diverse teams work better together and that, for companies, an improved male:female and diversity ratio in their workforce will boost staff morale, employee wellbeing and ultimately business performance. Women in Rail was set up in 2012 to improve gender balance, diversity and inclusion in the UK rail industry. Its membership comprises over 4,000 men and women employed in the railway. The charity, which operates through 8 regional groups in the UK, provides a robust networking and development platform to women of all backgrounds and grades working in the rail industry and runs the very successful cross-company mentoring programme. Morson rail director Gary Smithson was among the judges and speakers, and provided an introduction: “As a global recruitment agency, Morson have seen first-hand how the pandemic has negatively impacted people’s lives but we’ve also seen how people have come together in adversity, realising the power of true collaboration. The past few months have highlighted that true equality and an inclusive mentality are more important than ever in our professional and personal lives. Working together, adopting different perspectives and helping each other out has simply been essential… for the now, and for the future. Prejudice has no place as we look forward and build our economy back, together. We are proud to continue to champion diversity and the vital work of Women in Rail and the Big Rail Diversity Games.” Adeline Ginn MBE, founder and chair of Women in Rail, said: “The Big Rail Diversity Challenge is an important event in the rail industry agenda. It openly tackles rail’s outdated image, demonstrates that our industry can engage both men and women in equal measure and shows our sector’s commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion in order to create more attractive, productive and successful teams. We are naturally very disappointed that we could not hold the event in its traditional form this year, but we are delighted that the Big Rail Diversity Challenge was still able to take place, albeit virtually. The rail industry has learned a lot about teamwork in the last few months and we look forward to building on this new and positive outlook going forward.” Recruitment Consultant Charlotte Sumner spoke about her favourite event of the day and what it was like to judge the awards: My favourite event of the day was Haka, as it was great to see the effort and enthusiasm of the participants, really giving it their all. This event really showed a strong sense of team spirit, energy and sense of humour from all participants. I particularly enjoyed judging MTR Elizabeth Line who did the Haka outside in a park in London. It was a great experience to participate as a virtual judge as it gave each judge the opportunity to enter the different Escape or Murder Mystery rooms, navigating through the different teams to see how they interacted and worked together. The virtual events gave the judges an opportunity to see how for the teams in most cases, who were not present in the same room together, but dialling in remotely from home and interacting over a virtual call. It showed a real sense of teamwork and we were proven wrong in the sense of thinking this might have been a more difficult environment to work efficiently and coordinate between team members. It was fantastic to see the teams working effectively together, showing real patience, and listening skills. Similarly, when judging the Haka and the Body Rap, this was great to see how the team members, which in most cases were doing the event on their own, from home, showed they were unfazed by this and really gave it their all. Some teams even got members of their family and pets involved with the events, really showing a good sense of humour and lightheartedness to the day. Although we couldn’t be present in-person to attend the event, the virtual event has shown that this wouldn’t stop a great and memorable day. Congratulations to the winners of each category: Best Team Name Award: Siemens Mobility Limited (Financial and Commercial) - It’s Accrual World team Highest Score in the Murder Mystery challenge: Siemens Mobility Limited - I’m More Than Just a Label! team Highest Score in the in the Escape Room challenge: CAF Rail UK - Los Españoles team Best Haka Performance: MTR Elizabeth Line team. Best Body Rap Performance: Young Rail Professionals team. The benefits attained when companies embrace gender diversity and inclusion include enhanced collaboration and more productive teamwork. We look forward to continuing our commitment to supporting diverse workplaces and continuing our relationship as Key Sponsors at the 2021 Big Rail Diversity Challenge, which will return live to Newark Showground on Wednesday 23rd June 2021.

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    Keep Britain Working: Cautious Optimism as Job Listings Improve or Stabilise Across Many Sectors

    As the end of the furlough scheme edges ever closer, the number of job postings has continued to climb month on month, according to the latest Keep Britain Working Job Index. Figures from the job site Reed.co.uk show that the monthly increase in jobs posted, which started in May, has been replicated over the summer months and is now at its strongest level since March. Overall, the majority of the 36 sectors covered by Index are reported to be back to or above 50% of where they were in January. This is a move in the right direction, albeit from a low base, and hopefully signals that a slow and cautious recovery is underway in the jobs market. It also reflects the current sluggish return to previous levels of business activity, as organisations come to terms with new and more restrictive operating environments. James Reed, the co-founder of Keep Britain Working and chairman of REED, said: “As seen in the last couple of months, Britain’s job market is slowly beginning to emerge from the shadow of the unprecedented challenges presented by the lockdown. However, recovery is slow and the looming furlough deadline and the potential for a tidal wave of job losses in October is rapidly approaching. Our data together with GDP and ONS figures demonstrate that the much hoped for V-shaped recovery is likely to be far more nuanced for the economy in general, and the job market prospects of sectors will continue to show winners and losers to various degrees. “As I have previously mentioned, there is a major concern for the young and the low paid in this economic recovery. The rising average salaries we are seeing for jobs advertised are falsely inflated because of the removal of lower-paid jobs, not higher salaries being paid. As companies embark on price wars to win back customers there is real concern that wages could face a downward pressure. If we are to have a level, sustainable economy that works for everyone then jobs must be created in all sections of society and the tax burden must be evenly shared. Until that happens we will not be on the true road to recovery.” Sectors on the up Construction and estate agency sectors are leading the way in terms of a job market response with both showing strong gains in the last month compared to other sectors. Previously mothballed construction sites have recommenced with stronger levels of activity returning and estate agents are benefitting from increased consumer demand linked to the Stamp Duty holiday announced by the Government. Construction showed an increase of 11 percentage points since July, while estate agencies saw even larger growth with a rise of 17 percentage points. Both have rebounded well from the lows of March and April. Hopefully, with the Stamp Duty holiday extended to the end of March 2021, this momentum, built on the back of improved consumer demand to move home, will continue to fuel a jobs fightback. Likewise, the hospitality sector, which experienced a drastic and sudden downturn in activity following lockdown, has shown signs of a positive trajectory over the past three months with August’s jump fuelled by the Eat Out to Help Out scheme funded by the Chancellor. It will be interesting to gauge the follow-on effect once the scheme ends and if consumers tempted to venture out to pubs and restaurants will continue to do so once the financial incentive is removed. Other sectors showing stable or slight jobs growth over the past month include accountancy, banking, engineering, IT telecoms, legal, automotive, and purchasing. Rhys Harris, associate director – engineering, process & construction at fellow Keep Britain Working member, Morson Group: “Clear gains in the construction and property market is also mirrored in our own data at Morson, with contractor numbers doubling within our construction & civil infrastructure markets since April. Growing demand for blue, and white, collar workers, from bricklayers through to site managers and quantity surveyors, provides a major boost to the UK economy. The PM’s promise to ‘Build, Build Build’ and put jobs and infrastructure at the centre of the country’s growth is a sensible step to get the economy moving again. The construction industry contributed up to 10 per cent of GDP in pre-COVID figures and its swathes of major players and their supply chains – many of whom are SMEs and family businesses – provide a vital contribution to our recovery. “At its peak, the pandemic was fast-moving and largely unpredictable, with many employers now recognising the importance of having a strategic outlook on the procurement of talent in a bid to regain control of their workforce, provide access to key worker information and deliver cost efficiencies – particularly those with large contractor populations. Without a managed service provider (MSP) to deploy the correct corporate governance and compliance processes, an organisation lacks key management information and the ability to efficiently flex and scale their talent acquisition function; with the looming IR35 private sector reforms and Brexit only adding more fuel to the fire in what is the ‘perfect storm’. “Employers need to reassess how they build pipelines which reach, recruit and retain the best workers, whilst developing and deploying a strong employer value proposition (EVP) that defines who they are and delivers exceptional candidate journeys. There are unprecedented numbers of active candidates in the construction market – levels that we may never see again in our lifetime – which provides a unique opportunity for organisations to cut through the noise, lock in the best talent and put themselves ahead of their competitors.” And those struggling On the flip side, the well-documented volatility and jobs churn in the retail sector continues to dominate the headlines. After a couple of months of growth, progress has stalled, and the retail jobs index shows a return to the level last seen in May. With retail businesses having to deal with implementing COVID-safe shopping environments and current low levels of consumer confidence, the sector will be pinning its hopes on Christmas as the next big opportunity to kickstart a return. Consumer research indicates that traditional occasions such as Bonfire Night and Halloween will not be celebrated to the same degree this year and that they are focussing on the festive period instead. The retail sector certainly hopes so. Salaries holding their own despite pressure The August index also shows a shift in pay. A trend of increasing average pay through June and July has continued into August. The average salary advertised is now 12 percentage points higher than in January. The index finds that this is not because of an increase in salary, but the removal of lower-paid jobs from the market. There is concern that there could be downward pressure on wages as a consequence of price wars to get consumer attention, as we have seen with food outlets continuing to offer discounts after the Eat Out to Help Out government scheme has ended and major grocery chains embarking on widespread price cuts. Social care, logistics, scientific, hospitality and banking were among those sectors offering higher average salaries over the past month. This also demonstrates that businesses are still looking for managerial and strategic roles to steer the ship through troubled waters. We are also seeing the remit of these roles expanding as companies ask for senior experience at a lower level. Market demand remains a big concern for businesses In an exclusive survey conducted by Keep Britain Working, businesses picked out ‘demand in the market’ as their number one challenge going forward. Even for companies that have seen business levels improve during the pandemic, the prospect of maintaining market demand was the biggest concern as they assessed the future. In a sign that many are battening down the hatches intent on seeing the current crisis pass, only 21% of companies questioned said they have ‘investigated new customers or markets’ in recent months, and just over one in ten organisations said they intend to seek help for their marketing and sales planning. Morson is leading the northern presence of Keep Britain Working to help match up businesses with essential workers and find new roles for those who have found themselves out of work. Search our latest jobs now.

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    Network Rail Contractor Becomes Life-Saver After Mental Health Intervention

    A Network Rail track operative became a lifesaver as he used quick and calm thinking to stop trains on a London Underground track after a potentially suicidal member of the public gained access to the line. Shortly after midnight on Monday 20th July, Network Rail contractor Michael Harris was on duty in East Putney to cover his isolation duties. As he prepared for his shift and dressed in his PPE, he noticed an Indian man walking with what appeared to be a bottle of alcohol. Around 10 minutes later, he heard a London Underground train blast its horn frantically and eventually come to a complete stop. It was then he noticed that the man he had seen earlier had gained access to the line and was walking in the restricted and dangerous area. Mr Harris immediately phoned the British Transport Police and ensured that services would be suspended along that stretch of the line while he dealt with the issue. By this point, the man had staggered and fallen and was lying around a foot away from the active line. Checking that the man wasn’t holding any weapons or anything that could pose an immediate threat, he approached him and calmly attempted to get him to move away from the line. Mr Harris reported that the man appeared to be suffering a mental health crisis and was saying things that suggested he was of a suicidal frame of mind. Mr Harris took hold of the gentleman and attempted to get him to move away from the active line but was met with resistance, and he attempted to lunge forwards onto the active line. Fortunately, Mr Harris was able to restrain him and prevent him from doing so and pulled him away from the restricted area and managed to secure him in an area outside of the gates. During this time, the British Transport Police remained on the phone. After another brief struggle, the man calmed down but remained in a suicidal frame of mind. The driver of the London Underground train that had been forced to stop came to check on the situation and shortly afterwards the police arrived to handcuff the man for his own safety and detained him. Mr Harris made a statement and then returned to work for the rest of his shift. After being approached by Network Rail, Vital Human Resources, part of the Morson Group, introduced trespass and vandalism patrollers to address the growing cases of disruption and safety threats on various rail routes across the UK. Travelling in pairs, the trained patrollers respond to issues surrounding unauthorised track access and help keep both rail passengers and other members of the public safe. In the following 18 months after their introduction, there was a 53% reduction in suicides within the Thameslink area as the patrollers worked with the British Transport Police throughout the routes. Vital director Gary Hardaker said at the time: "In a single year, Vital patrollers in the Thameslink area spent 157, 680 hours patrolling the most vulnerable locations. This increase in vigilant presence resulted in over 50 lifesaving interventions along the Thameslink lines with one patroller, Iman Masoud, performing a total of three separate interventions during this time. He was recognised with inclusion in an even on suicide prevention in Parliament." Morson is committed to supporting the mental health of its clients, contractors and employees. Our training division, Morson Training, provides mental health awareness and first aid training across a variety of levels, and in 2019 we launched our Mental Health First Aiders, a team of employees trained to help and support colleagues.

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    Morson Wins Large Employer of the Year at the Engineering Talent Awards by EqualEngineers

    Morson is delighted to take home the award for Large Employer of the Year at the inaugural Engineering Talent Awards by EqualEngineers. The Engineering Talent Awards is a new set of awards to celebrate the diversity of the engineering and technology profession through showcasing role models and inspiring people to consider a career in the field. EqualEngineers was founded by Dr Mark McBride-Wright, a chemical engineer specialising in health and safety with experience in oil & gas, government services and defence. EqualEngineers sets out increase the diversity of workforces and improve stakeholder health and wellbeing by connecting inclusive employers with diverse candidates in engineering and technology. Morson beat Rolls-Royce and UK Power Networks to the Large Employer of the Year award. Our submission highlighted how as a business, guided by our 2020 pledge to double the number of female contractors registered with us, we have continued to showcase women in engineering with impactful case studies and key sponsorships. Morson has three times been sponsors of the Big Rail Diversity Games by Women in Rail and sponsored their mentoring programme – a nine-month programme accurately matching aspiring female mentees with successful mentors from across the rail industry based on location, personal interest, technical skills and experience. This is in order to champion diverse thinking, cross-fertilisation of ideas and boost networks within the UK rail sector. As members of LGBT charity Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme, Morson has committed to ensuring all its candidates are encouraged to be themselves at work, driving performance, engagement and innovation. Hundreds of Morson Track Operatives working on the London Underground were given rainbow-striped laces for their safety boots in celebration and support of the LGBT community. Adding Recite Me’s suite of web accessibility tools to our website has revolutionised the way we engage with candidates online with solutions for visitors with dyslexia, visual impairment and learning difficulties, enabling 27% more of the UK population to access our online content than could previously. The technology ensures every part of our recruitment process is accessible to everyone, from browsing to making an application. In 2019, there were 6,803 uses of the ReciteMe toolbar on morson.com. Ever keen to be change-makers within the industry, we’re committed to ensuring that our work surrounding diversity is reflected within the clients as well as internally. At Morson, we are committed to improving the diversity of our company and building inclusive cultures every day. We delivered 900 ED&I courses across the Group in 2019, including a series of reverse mentoring sessions for directors from our population of future female leaders. As part of this, we committed to the Inclusive Culture Pledge, a special initiative by diversity consultancy EW Group. By signing up to EW Group’s Pledge, we benefitted from a year of dedicated support on five key aspects of diversity development: Leadership, People, Brand, Data and Future. Together this provided a focus for building our skills, awareness, confidence and maturity around workplace diversity. In doing so, we committed, internally and outwardly, to the lasting importance of diversity and inclusion to our company culture. After 12 months of the 2020 initiative, the number of female engineers went from 7.5% of our contractor base to 13.8%, with a further increase to 15.3% in 2018. Our employees split has also been changing, with 62% of the business being female. Our future leader's programme has identified over 30 future leaders within the business. The average age of this cohort is 34, with 70% of them being female. This created a stronger and more balanced pipeline of future leaders and works towards our goal of having better gender representation at senior levels. Morson is committed to changing perceptions within the business, championing women and other underrepresented groups in engineering and empowering young talent through mentorship. Diversity achieves better commercial results by driving innovative ideas, changing the status quo and raising the bar for success. Due to the restrictions in place because of the coronavirus pandemic, the inaugural awards were presented online, with an online drinks reception organised in place of networking. Morson Group continues to showcase and promote diversity in engineering. The Bridge (IT Recruitment) has recently launched its Tech Talks series which highlights the achievements of their diverse talent pool. Find out more about our commitment to diversity.

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    Morson Projects’ Power, Automation & Controls Team Welcomes Two New Graduate Software Developers

    Due to continued growth, Morson Projects' Power, Automation & Controls team are delighted to introduce two new Graduate Software Developers to the team, who will be based at their Head Office in Irlam, Manchester. The two graduates were recruited by colleagues at Morson International, who conducted all interviews via video-call during challenging conditions at the start of lockdown. Paul Ward, who leads the team, shared: “In our continued efforts to broaden our multi-disciplinary approach to delivery and introduce fresh talent and ideas into the team, we hope that through on-going mentoring Ali and Ethan will be two stars of the future. In these challenging times we are pleased to have been able to recruit and onboarded new talent which will broaden our long-term delivery capability and increase the support capability we can offer to clients. With thanks to the first-class internal recruitment capability of our colleagues at Morson International, Alex Beddows and team, we have experienced a seamless process from recruitment to appointment and are delighted to have Ali and Ethan as part of the team.” Morson Projects caught up with Ali and Ethan who both began their new roles during the lockdown, to find out a little bit more about them and how they are getting on so far: What did you study before you started your new role? Ali: I’ve just finished studying my BSc Computer Science at the University of Salford and just recently graduated with a First Class honours degree in July. Ethan: I also studied BSc Computer Science at the University of Salford, receiving a 2:1 overall. During my studies, I also did a 6-month period studying Mobile Development at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. How you have found starting at Morson Projects during the lockdown? Ali: I have been working from home and it has been a rather pleasant experience as I was set up with all the equipment needed from the first day. I’ve been able to communicate with fellow team members with no difficulties and get support from them whenever needed. Working from home has saved me a lot more time during the day as I don’t have to commute to work. Ethan: Starting at Morson Projects during lockdown has had its challenges, especially due to the lack of face-to-face interaction with colleagues which was something I hadn’t experienced before when starting a new job! Although I was still able to work well from home, I’m now back in the office three days a week, which I am really enjoying - it’s nice to be able to interact with colleagues in person after only being able to interact over video calls, to begin with. What you are most looking forward to / already enjoying about your new role? Ali: As a Software Developer, it’s been exciting to have the opportunity to work on Morson Projects live client projects and get to grips with the varied technologies involved. I am looking forward to all the different learning opportunities that will continue to build on my existing knowledge and feel there is a lot I can bring to the business in a positive way. Ethan: Right now I’m enjoying working on creating webpages for our current project, one cool part has been creating interactive charts with JavaScript frameworks. In the future, I’m excited to work on the networking for this project, such as setting up servers on-site to host the websites we’ve created. Where do you see yourself in 3 years? Ali: I would like to see myself having advanced into a more senior role and assume more management responsibilities whilst continuing to work as a Software Developer. Ethan: In three years’ time, I see myself in a more senior position than I am in currently and with more responsibilities on projects and potentially being able to project manage some small projects. To find out more about our Power, Automation & Controls capability, please get in touch with Paul Ward by calling 0161 707 1516 or for current employment opportunities please email: enquiries@morson-projects.co.uk.

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    Morson CEO Ged Mason Recognised for Covid-19 PPE Efforts

    Ged Mason OBE, CEO of Morson Group, has received the High Sheriff Special Recognition Award for facilitating the provision of specially-adapted PPE for practitioners working with children and young people who have learning disabilities. He was nominated for the accolade by Dominic Tinner, Head of Fundraising at Seashell Trust in Cheadle Hulme, who praised Ged for helping to supply the innovative facemasks, complete with a Perspex mouthpiece, to facilitate the charity’s staff and students who rely on lip-reading to communicate effectively. Mason and the wider Morson Group have supported Seashell Trust for more than 11 years. Sitting on the board of trustees, Ged declared the organisation Morson’s charity of the year in 2016. Through ongoing fundraising, the Morson Group has donated more than £0.5million to the charity. The Morson Group partners with the Morson Maker Space, a specialist manufacturing facility at the University of Salford which has used 3D printing to produce thousands of medical visors for the city’s frontline staff fighting COVID-19. Upon hearing that Seashell Trust’s students were struggling to communicate with their tutors and carers, who had been asked to adopt restrictive face masks and PPE to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, Ged introduced a Speech and Language Therapist from the charity to the Morson Maker Space team to invent a prototype mask that enabled lip reading and better visual cues. Since then, the prototypes have been designed and manufactured by the University of Salford and are in use at the charity which provides education and care for children and young people with learning disabilities between the ages of three and 25. Tinner said: “COVID-19 has proved a very traumatic time for our students. They have complex needs, and any disruption to their routine can be unsettling. To suddenly see their teachers and carers in PPE, and to not be able to pick up on their visual cues when trying to communicate, was a huge blow – it can make both the students and staff, some of whom are also deaf, feel very isolated. “Ged provided a breakthrough for us with this challenge. We searched online, all around the world for masks that would enable our team to achieve a sense of normality during this unusual period, but no-one was producing them. When we discovered Ged had been working with the University of Salford who was producing the PPE visors, and when he heard of our situation, the solution became clear very quickly. It was like the stars aligned and was a truly collaborative effort. “While Ged has proven to be a lifeline to us during the pandemic, it must be said that he is a truly remarkable person all year round and over the years has given Seashell Trust opportunities we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to achieve. He even gave one of our young students a full-time job, which provided so much inspiration for our other residents. “Ged doesn’t just support us financially through donations; he offers advice, guidance and sometimes will just sit and listen to us. He is a true friend to our organisation and that’s why we didn’t think twice about nominating him for this special award.” This is the first year the High Sheriff of Greater Manchester has introduced a Special Recognition awards programme, with Eamonn O’Neill being selected by the Queen to take the position in April this year. Ged said: “This was quite a surprise for me – it was completely unexpected, and I am very humbled that of all Seashell Trust’s donors, they have chosen to put me forward. “Seashell Trust holds a special place in my heart and over the many years of working together, it has been inspiring to see their young people develop and learn how to communicate despite their hearing challenges and disabilities. The wider Morson Group and I do what we can for Seashell Trust because we think they are the special ones; it is them that deserves the recognition. “I’d like to congratulate the other recipients of the High Sheriff Special Recognition Award and also thank the High Sheriff himself for introducing this scheme, which highlights the important work taking place across our region.” Rachel Norton, Maker Space Project Manager at the University of Salford, said: "The Morson Maker Space team have worked closely with the Morson Group throughout the COVID-19 crisis. We’re proud to have been able to support many frontline workers across the North West including the critical work for the Seashell Trust. Our work together has been an excellent example of the strength of our partnership and how we’ve come together at a time of great need. We’d like to congratulate Ged Mason on his High Sheriff Special Recognition Award; it’s very well deserved.” We spoke with the Seashell Trust’s lead nurse Kate Bunting and head of fundraising Dominic Tinner, to find out about their particular challenges in caring for some of the most vulnerable young people in society at this time. Read the full article here

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    BAE Systems and Leonardo Awarded £317m Eurofighter Typhoon Contract

    BAE Systems and Leonardo have been awarded a joint £317 million contract to develop the next generation of radar technology and Future Combat Air Systems for the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoons. The project, which is to develop the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) European Common Radar System (ECRS) for integration on the RAF Typhoon, will sustain more than 600 highly skilled jobs across the country. This includes more than 300 working at Leonardo’s Edinburgh site, 100 electronic warfare specialists in Luton and 120 engineers at BAE System’s Lancashire site. BAE Systems, the UK’s prime contractor for the Typhoon, will integrate the new sensor that is to be delivered by Leonardo. The ECRS Mk2 is a completely new approach designed to meet the operational needs of the RAF and future export customers. Game-changing technology, the ECRS Mk2 will equip pilots with the ability to locate, identify and suppress enemy air defences using jamming, engaging targets beyond the reach of threats. This is far in advance of the current mechanically scanning radar currently featured on the Eurofighter Typhoon. It has significantly more transmit-receive elements than other radars, making Mk 2 the most capable fighter radar in the world, maintaining the same power and precision of traditional radars but also enabling the simultaneous operation of its wide-band Electronic Warfare functionality. Andrea Thompson, Managing Director Europe & International for BAE Systems’ Air sector, said: "This capability will allow Typhoon to take its place in the future battlespace for decades to come, maturing key technologies for future combat air systems and ensuring interoperability. As well as securing highly-skilled jobs, it will sustain the key skills needed to keep the UK at the forefront of the global Combat Air sector. We look forward to continuing to work alongside the Eurofighter nations and our industry partners to ensure Typhoon delivers the needs of today and answers the challenges of tomorrow.” Mark Hamilton, Senior Vice President Electronic Warfare, Leonardo said: “This contract is great news for the UK, which will get the world’s most capable fighter radar, and great news for British engineering. Inventing, developing and building advanced technology here in the UK allows us to understand and meet the specific requirements of our Armed Forces and to secure export orders all around the world, boosting the whole UK economy.” BAE Systems and Leonardo have also recently joined forces with several other aerospace and defence companies to develop the next generation of combat aircraft to eventually replace the Eurofighter Typhoon. First announced in 2018, several companies including Thales, Rolls Royce and the Ministry of Defence are working together to utilise emergent technologies to make the aircraft the most advanced in the world. The Tempest aircraft is currently scheduled to join the RAF fleet in 2035. Morson is a leading supplier to the biggest companies in the aerospace and defence sector. Search our latest roles now

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