Engineers and people working in STEM across the south of England have the opportunity to break through the so-called ‘career break curse’ thanks to a new job scheme recently launched by one of the area’s biggest firms.
BAE Systems has joined forces with STEM Returners for the fourth time to begin a 12-week paid placement to help people return to work after a career break. The programme will run in BAE Systems Submarines at its sites in Portsmouth, Frimley, Weymouth and Bristol, and include roles such as systems engineer, mechanical engineer, systems architect and electrical design engineer.
In 2017, BAE Systems became the first company in the UK to run a STEM Returners programme and has since helped more than 80 engineers return to the STEM industry.
‘We are very delighted to be continuing our partnership with BAE Systems to return highly skilled people back into the industry they love,’ said Natalie Desty, director of STEM Returner. ‘We need to do more to challenge unconscious bias, which prevents so many highly skilled and talented people from returning to work.
‘BAE Systems has worked with us from the beginning and shares our desire to change outdated recruitment practices,’ she continued. ‘Only by working together to create a supportive and inclusive environment where returners can really thrive will we deal with the well-known skills shortage in the UK engineering industry.’
‘Working with STEM Returners to increase opportunities for those looking to return to work allows us to make the most of vital skills and experience that returners can offer,’ said Lucy Webb, HR and capability manager at BAE Systems Submarines. ‘STEM Returners plays an important role in increasing the diversity and inclusiveness of our business and our ongoing relationships is a valuable part of our overall recruitment strategy.’
STEM Returners has also released the results of its annual survey, which asked more than 1,000 STEM professionals on a career break a range of questions to understand their experiences of trying to re-enter the STEM sector. Published on International Women in Engineering Day, the STEM Returners Index 2022 showed that there is a bias in the recruitment process that prevents engineers who’ve taken a career break from returning to employment.
It also revealed that the pool of STEM professionals attempting to return to industry is significantly more diverse than the average STEM organisation. Those attempting to return to work are 46 per cent female and 44 per cent from ethnic minority groups, compared to 14 per cent female and nine per cent from ethnic minority groups working in industry.