Babcock extend jobs scheme with STEM Returners

Posted on 23 February, 2022 by Advance 

Babcock is collaborating with STEM Returners to help engineers get back into work after a career break.

Image courtesy STEM Returners

Babcock will offer the STEM Returners programme at their sites in Plymouth, Bristol and Rosyth following a successful programme in 2021. Roles include Mechanical Design Engineer, Naval Architect and Structural Engineer, among others.

STEM Returners, based in Hampshire, will source candidates for the programme, which aims to return or transfer experienced engineers back into industry following a career break. The fully paid placements act as a ‘returnship’, allowing candidates to be re-integrated into an inclusive environment upon their return to STEM.

Whilst the scheme helps solve the problem of sourcing talent in sectors that need it, it also has the added benefit of increasing diversity in a host organisation. STEM Returners’ population of experienced professionals who are attempting to return to work are 51% female and 38% from black and minority ethnic groups, compared to 10% female and 6% BME working in the STEM industry.

Natalie Desty (above), Director of STEM Returners said: “We are very proud to be continuing our work with Babcock to return highly skilled people back into the industry they love. Only by partnering with industry leaders like Babcock, will we make vital changes in STEM recruitment practices, to help those who are finding it challenging to return to the sector and improve diversity and inclusion.”

Babcock’s Group Head of Early Careers, Debbie Joce, said: “After a successful partnership in 2021 with STEM Returners, we are delighted to be part of the programme again going into 2022. Supporting this initiative has provided us with an opportunity to introduce even more talent and diversity into our organisation whilst also allowing us to fill skills gaps by placing skilled professionals back into roles most suited to them.”

There is a well-known skills shortage in the UK engineering industry, but despite a clear need for people, there is a group of talented and educated professionals who are willing and able to take on these roles who are being overlooked and finding it challenging to return to their desired profession.

In the STEM Returners’ annual survey - The STEM Returners Index - 61% of STEM professionals on a career break say they are finding the process of attempting to return to work either difficult or very difficult, and 36% of returners have felt bias in the recruitment process has been a barrier to them personally returning to their career.

The STEM Returners’ programme aims to eliminate these barriers, by giving candidates real work experience and mentoring during their placement and helping them to seamlessly adjust to life back in work.

This is the second programme STEM Returners has run with Babcock. Rushna Nawaz completed a returner programme with Babcock in 2021 as a Design Manager at Babcock’s Devonport facility. Rushna left her previous role in early 2020 as the pandemic hit to look after her children but has since found it hard to get back into employment.

Rushna Nawaz, Babcock STEM Returner, said: “I did a mechanical engineering degree at University and have always worked within the STEM industry, which I have loved, but when COVID took hold, I decided to take a step back. After a while I applied for a few roles but didn’t have any response. COVID has made it very hard to get back into the industry. A gap on my CV, even because of a global pandemic, seemed to slow my progress in getting a new role.”

Successful candidates may be offered full-time positions at Babcock upon the completion of their 12-week placement. Since STEM Returners launched in 2017, more than 200 STEM Returner candidates has joined programmes across the UK. To view STEM Returners availabilities with Babcock, visit Returner Placements - STEM Returners.

STEM Returners has recently launched the 2022 STEM Returners Index to better understand STEM professionals’ experiences of trying to re-enter the sector after a career break.

The survey is open to all STEM professions who have had a gap in their career or who are attempting to return to work or who have recently returned to work. It is anonymous and will ask a variety of questions including reasons for a career break, what challenges were faced when attempting to return to work and what impact COVID-19 had on finding a role.