Have you taken a career break from STEM and struggled to return? Are you currently looking to change STEM industries, but lack the experience needed to apply? If so, this could be just the programme for you.
IMarEST (The Institute of Marine, Engineering, Science and Technology), in partnership with WES (Women’s Engineering Society) are proud to launch STEM Returners. We have created a structured return to work programme to positively affect the high proportion of STEM professionals who have taken a career break, and been unable to return. The programme will also facilitate a transfer of learning opportunity for experienced professionals who want to transfer their skills to another industry.
The programme is a structured, paid 13-week employment placement for professionals returning to work after a career break, or looking to transfer between sectors. Alongside the experience gained from the work placement, STEM Returners provides vital support for the returner including confidence building, training, career coaching, networking opportunities and peer support. At the end of the programme, at the agreement of the employer and the returner, there will also be the opportunity for ongoing employment. This isn’t just work experience, but a genuine opportunity to restart careers!
Although people acquire multiple skills on career breaks (such as organisation and project management), those looking to return after a significant break often find it difficult to articulate their value to employers within a work environment. Similarly, employers generally view a period outside of the traditional work environment as a deterioration of skills. This is also true for candidates with transferrable skills from other sectors, but that lack vital industry experience.
A returners programme helps candidates transition effectively back to the workplace by providing a route back in, support and mentoring to increase confidence, and an opportunity to update their skills and knowledge. The returnees also have the opportunity of securing a contract or permanent position at the end of the programme, as well as significantly increasing their professional networks.
The key benefits to the returnee are:
- Clear route back in to engineering, or in to a different sector- many candidates can’t apply via traditional recruitment methods, especially those that use portals or artificial intelligence to ascertain a candidate’s suitability.
- Overcome ‘CV gap’ barrier to recruitment, or gain experience in a new sector– hiring managers and recruiters view a CV gap as a deterioration of skills, resulting in the candidate being unsuccessful at shortlisting stage. Although candidates have highly transferable skills, this isn’t always recognised by employers looking to recruit through traditional methods.
- Updates skills, knowledge and networks- the returnees can re-join the workforce, attend relevant training and build important professional networks.
- Boosts confidence and self-belief- the provision of coaching and mentoring, as well as practical work experience provides invaluable experience that the returnees can use to restart their career.