Booking.com Team and Tech Returners Team
Booking.com, one of the world’s leading digital travel companies, has welcomed 12 new software developers into its Manchester-based team as part of its ongoing partnership with Tech Returners, an organisation specialising in upskilling engineers to return to the tech industry after a career break.
Booking.com’s Trips division, which will move into its new £100m home at Manchester’s Enterprise City later this year, has created the roles having sponsored its second cohort of candidates through Tech Returners’ ‘Your Return to Tech’ programme.
The 8-week course is designed and proven to tackle the industry's well-documented skills shortage and provide software developers - the majority of which are women - with a free route back to high-quality employment after a career break.
The full-time appointments started in June and cover roles across the company’s Trips division, including its Taxis, Cars, Insurance and Data teams, and forms part of its plan to significantly grow the business’ 1,000-strong presence in the city.
Beyond refreshing and re-skilling individuals from a technical perspective, the programme also provides each participant with career and mindset coaching, drilling down into different skills and behaviours from how to rebuild confidence to interview preparation and practice.
To date, the Tech Returners programme has placed more than 100 mid-level software developers into a range of UK-based organisations that value diversity in their technical teams, including The Guardian, Daemon and The BBC.
Matthias Schmid, SVP for the Booking.com Trips division said: “As the travel industry experiences a resurgence following the pandemic, we have ambitious plans to create a vast range of new roles to join the 300 skilled professionals we’ve already hired across our Trips team this year alone. The city’s world-class talent is a key reason why we call Manchester home. Working with progressive organisations like Tech Returners means we can provide a platform and career pathways for diverse talent to shine, deliver game-changing innovation and ultimately fly the flag for the local tech scene internationally.”
Beckie Taylor, CEO and Co-founder of Tech Returners commented: "As a team passionate about building diverse tech teams and supporting people to realise their potential, we are beyond proud to see another successful cohort of returners get back to their careers and back to themselves.
It's a privilege to collaborate with organisations, like Booking.com, that are capable of seeing beyond the perceived stigma that accompanies a career break and that instead recognise the expertise, skills and value that this demographic brings to the tech industry. We've seen time and time again that an opportunity is all someone needs to reignite their career in tech."
Booking.com & Tech Returners Case study – Shahzadi Saira Awan
One employee that has already benefited from the initiative is Shahzadi Saira Awan, who joined Tech Returners in October 2021. She moved to the UK from Pakistan in 2018 and applied for refugee asylum in 2019 with her then 2 year old son. She spent much of her early time in England living in temporary accommodation as she sought asylum as a survivor of domestic abuse.
Despite holding a Masters degree in Information Technology, Shahzadi’s childcare responsibilities and visa requirements made it difficult for her to find full-time employment.
Shahzadi said: “My refugee status meant I faced a lot of challenges trying to find a job. I worked in a number of voluntary roles but needed a job with an income to support myself and my son. I knew I had desirable tech skills but opportunities were hard to come by.”
Tech Returners gave Shahzadi the opportunity to get back into the industry. She joined the course, which is free for returners, in October 2021 and was offered a permanent role as a mid-level software developer at the end of the programme, which came on the same day as the approval of her asylum application to reside in the UK as a permanent resident.
She continued: “Tech Returners helped me to refresh my skills and gave me the confidence to go back into the workplace. Since I joined the Booking.com team in June, they have been flexible around my childcare needs and supportive of me in every way. Recently I attended a conference in Amsterdam with my son – the small things make a big difference in making sure I can progress my career.
“It’s fantastic to see so many more people being given the opportunity to join the business through Tech Returners and I’m looking forward to working alongside my fellow cohort.”
Founded in 1996 in Amsterdam, Booking.com has grown from a small Dutch startup to one of the world’s leading digital travel companies. Part of Booking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG), Booking.com’s mission is to make it easier for everyone to experience the world.
By investing in the technology that helps take the friction out of travel, Booking.com seamlessly connects millions of travellers with memorable experiences, a range of transportation options and incredible places to stay - from homes to hotels and much more.
As one of the world’s largest travel marketplaces for both established brands and entrepreneurs of all sizes, Booking.com enables properties all over the world to reach a global audience and grow their businesses.
Booking.com is available in 44 languages and offers more than 28 million total reported accommodation listings, including more than 6.6 million listings of homes, apartments and other unique places to stay. No matter where you want to go or what you want to do, Booking.com makes it easy and backs it all up with 24/7 customer support.
About Tech Returners
Founded in Manchester in 2017, Tech Returners is a scale-up organisation focused on providing skilled tech professionals with an inclusive opportunity to refresh their skills and return to a successful career in tech. Tech Returners is committed to removing the stigma and barriers which people face after a career break. Simultaneously the organisation tackles the digital skills shortage and lack of diversity in tech: In 2022, an average of 59% of participants completing the ‘Your Return to Tech’ programmes were women and 62% were people of colour.
As the UK’s only free ‘Your Return to Tech’ programme for individuals, the 8-week programme provides a positive and empowering environment and a proven route back into a technology career. Returners up-skill in new technologies, develop existing knowledge and are supported with confidence, career and mindset coaching in preparation for a guaranteed interview with a hiring sponsor.
Tech Returners takes a technical and personal approach to supporting and re-skilling talented humans who bring value, expertise, and diversity to progressive organisations.