Global engineering, design and consultancy company, Ramboll, has announced that following the success of their 2021 ‘Return to Work’ programme they will be bringing back the initiative for a second year. Directed towards those who have taken a break from careers in engineering, design, project management or consultancy, the programme is a key part of Ramboll’s broader global initiative to increase gender representation across the business.

This decision follows an incredibly successful pilot programme in which seven women joined across the business, in roles including Project Management, Engineering, and Sustainability, after pausing their careers for a variety of reasons. The initiative is designed to help people return to their career from where they left off by applying their expertise to a new role while receiving necessary professional and personal support.

Open to applicants with prior experience in the engineering, design and consultancy sectors who have taken a career break of at least 12 months, the new roles include Project Management, Engineering Consultants, Sustainability Consultants, Business Support roles and senior leadership positions. 2022 applicants can find details on how to apply here The programme has been developed in partnership with Inclusivity Partners, the returning talent experts.

The assessment and selection process acknowledges the full breadth of a candidate’s experience and understands that breaks should not be career limiting. To help support their return, participants benefit from additional training, one-to-one sessions with a specialist return to work coach, and guidance from an internal mentor.

As the construction and engineering industries face a continued challenge in driving gender representation at all levels, Ramboll introduced the programme as a means of breaking down barriers to women reaching higher levels of seniority or being lost to the sector altogether. The programme runs alongside their long-standing commitment to flexible working, which was introduced pre-pandemic, and their recent commitment to hybrid working, so that all employees can effectively balance work and family life.

Among the successful returners that began at Ramboll in 2021 is Naz Jones, a successful engineering project manager and electrical engineer who was forced to give up her previous role due to the conflicting demands of a young family and a role with international travel and inflexible hours. Naz is now a Project Manager within the Buildings division at Ramboll UK, and thanks to their flexible and hybrid working policies is able to fit her new role around family needs.

Commenting on Ramboll’s Return to Work programme, Philippa Spence, Managing Director of Ramboll UK, said:

“Women’s careers are disproportionately affected by breaks, for many reasons, so we are delighted to continue our commitment to changing this through our Return to Work programme. We believe that too much talent is lost due to unnecessary barriers for those who may have taken time away from full-time work and are committed to driving this essential shift in approach and thinking throughout our industry. Our Return to Work programme has proven that this approach works in delivering better gender representation and we would encourage others across the sector to look at how they can benefit from access to such a diverse range of high-level talent by adopting similar programmes.”

Naz Jones, Project Manager at Ramboll:

“Having left full-time work to start a family, I had concerns over the impact of conscious or unconscious bias when applying to work full-time again. These concerns hold so many back from applying for the challenging roles we aspire to and deserve. Ramboll’s Return to Work programme and flexible working policy gave me confidence and a chance I didn’t think I would have had otherwise. As a result, I have been able to nurture my skillset once again and feel fulfilled in my new role, without having to sacrifice the other important aspects of my life as a working mother.”

Tracy Burrell, Senior HR Business Partner at Ramboll:

“This year we are proud to be able to continue to help break down the barriers and bias that applicants may encounter after taking a break from work. Our work with Inclusivity Partners has been transformational and shown that simply by providing an appropriate level of support we can all benefit from re-engaging professionals who otherwise may have been lost to the sector. It is within all of our power to build a responsive and flexible workplace that is truly inclusive, as it is well known that a diverse pool of thought leads to better thinking and solutions, and we are already reaping the benefits of this at Ramboll.”

Colin Bath, Director at Ramboll:

As a director, we are always seeking the best new talent to add to our teams, but we need to remember that high-calibre talent doesn’t always have to be found in the traditional places. That is why it’s so exciting to be supporting the development of Ramboll’s teams this way, where we can benefit from diversity of thought and experience brought by the scheme’s new arrivals, and this talent that is too often overlooked can return to enriching careers.”

The programme is the latest development in Ramboll’s people-focused approach, which has championed flexible working for many years and encourages regular home-working where suitable to ensure a healthy work/life balance.