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Breaking barriers

Head of the Mitie Foundation Mollie Green celebrates 10 years of breaking down barriers to employment

Facilities management is an industry ripe with opportunities and can be a fantastic route into employment for disadvantaged groups. People with learning difficulties, veterans, ex-offenders, young people and the long-term unemployed may all face barriers to employment, but with the sheer variety of roles available in the FM industry, there truly is a job for everyone.

As one of the country’s leading employers, Mitie has a unique opportunity to help people enter or return to the world of work and so 10 years ago formed The Mitie Foundation and its flagship Ready2Work scheme.

Ready2Work is an eight-week introduction to the world of work, involving open days, a pre-placement preparation week to learn core employment skills, and then seven weeks of work experience, finishing with an awards ceremony to celebrate completing the scheme. Each candidate is paired with a Mitie mentor to provide personalised support on their journey through the programme – in fact, one of the core principles of the Ready2Work programme is support. As well as helping candidates better understand their own personal strengths and development areas, we’ve seen time and time again that by building this one-to-one relationship on both a personal and professional level, we can help give a boost to the career confidence that may have been missing before.


This was experienced first-hand by our colleague Abdul. After arriving in the UK from Afghanistan in February 2022, he initially found it difficult to secure job interviews, despite having the relevant qualifications and job experience. By joining the Ready2Work programme and working with his mentor on key areas, such as CV writing, job interview skills and business English proficiency, we helped him overcome the barriers he faced and rebuild his confidence.

In fact, after being so impressed with his performance and rapid development during his work experience, Mitie offered him a permanent role as a crime analyst within the Mitie Security team. Looking at how far Abdul has come shows that by simply offering someone the right support and guidance, we can help them overcome any challenges they may face to build a thriving career in the FM industry.

Unfortunately, one of the first barriers people may face, before even sitting down for an interview, is prejudice. Many of the candidates coming through our programme tell us that they feel like no one is willing to take a chance on them. That is exactly how one of our colleagues, Jeffery, felt before joining the Ready2Work programme. Jeffery suffers from anxiety and epilepsy and had been out of work for 18 years before joining Mitie in February 2020, despite applying for countless roles. He often felt his applications were unfairly discounted because of his health issues and the long time he had spent out of employment. As part of the programme, Jeffery received support in preparing for interviews and building his confidence, before going on to complete his work placement on Mitie’s Hinchingbrooke Hospital contract. During his time in the scheme, Jeffery impressed his manager so much that within just four weeks he was offered a permanent contract.

By helping to build back Jeffery’s confidence, we unearthed an enthusiastic and brilliantly capable new member of our team. Now, not only does Mitie have a fantastic addition to the team, but more importantly, it has made a massive difference to Jeffery, with he himself saying: “I’m on cloud nine. This is the best opportunity of my life! Working is so much better than not working.” These success stories show just how life changing these programmes can be.


Facilities management as an industry has such a diverse range of roles, from cleaning, security, engineering and front of house, to landscaping, waste management and so much more, and the range of career opportunities makes it ideal for initiatives like Ready2Work. The success we’ve had so far with the Ready2Work scheme is clear, reinforcing our belief that every single person brings something unique to the workplace. To date, over 550 candidates have been through the programme, with 70 per cent going on to secure employment straight after completion.

One of Mitie’s core values is ‘Our diversity makes us stronger’, and the achievements of the Mitie Foundation and its alumni over the past decade make it clear that this truly is the case. By offering a little time and support so that every candidate is given a fair chance, not only can businesses help individuals into the world of work, they can also access a range of talented individuals that bring their own unique perspectives to the workplace. It has been a fantastic and immensely fulfilling 10 years, helping people from all walks of life overcome the barriers in front of them – here’s to another 10 years of success.

About Sarah OBeirne

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