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Published: 20 Jun 2019

Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure – Winner 2019, Best Returner Programme

3 Key Points 

  • Supported returner programme for all genders, ages, backgrounds and levels of experience. 
  • Permanent roles are flexible with ongoing support. 
  • Majority of roles filled usually suffer a shortage of quality candidates. 

“I left my role as a consultant at a banking group in 2013 to care for my family including a new-born addition whilst my wife undertook treatment for cancer. Having been out of the industry since that time, this opportunity provided me with a steady environment to enhance technical skills and gain work experience. I have had excellent support from my managers and colleagues and this has been a life-changing opportunity for me. I now have a permanent role where I can forge my future career. 

Daniel Otolorin, IT business analyst 


A successful returnship programme aimed at all genders, agesdisciplines and levels of experience is discovering and developing skilled employees for roles that usually suffer from a shortage of good candidates.  

The construction firm has received more than 200 applications for its two returner programmes since 2017. 

There are no restrictions on who can apply, so long as they have been on a career break of at least 18 months.  

Shortlisted candidates take part in an assessment day and successful applicants are offered a structured phased return on the programme, starting with three days a week. 

Last year, all returners took permanent positions that offered flexible working and ongoing support.  

Returners benefit from coaching, a mentor and peer support from a ‘buddy’ as well as learning about the business and updating skills during the programme. 

Half of applicants for the programmes were women and almost three quarters (74%) were from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds – both of which are well above average for roles in construction. 

The company has also revisited returner applicants who couldn’t attend the assessment days for other vacancies, and many extra returners have now been recruited intro permanent roles within the business. 

The majority (87%) of returners are filling roles that usually suffer from a shortage of quality candidates. By reaching out to people who have previously worked in the sector, or have transferrable skills, the programme is successfully tackling these skills shortages. 

The company is now developing a specific programme for estimator roles, which involve studying plans and estimating costs for materials and labour. The programme will be open to all levels of experience and those with transferrable skills. 

The Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors has expressed an interest in using the Morgan Sindall programme as a model for the property sector.