STEM Returners selected by Airbus in the UK to provide placement programme

Posted on 21 March, 2022 by Advance 

STEM Returners is to work with leading aircraft manufacturer Airbus in the UK to help engineers get back into work after a career break.


Natalie Desty, Director of STEM Returners.
Courtesy STEM Returners

STEM Returners will provide a 12-week, fully paid, programme, which acts as a ‘returnship’, allowing candidates to be re-integrated into an inclusive environment upon their return to STEM.

The pilot scheme will take place at Airbus’ site in Bristol and near Chester. The roles will include engineers and an installation designer.

Annual research from STEM Returners (The STEM Returners Index) has revealed the challenges people who have had career break face, when trying to return – recruitment bias being the main barrier to entry.

Natalie Desty, Director of STEM Returners, said: “We are delighted to begin a new working relationship with Airbus, a leading aircraft manufacture.

“There is a known shortage of skills across STEM industries so to see a company like Airbus take advantage of a pool of skilled, dedicated and talented professionals is very positive.

“Only by working with leaders like Airbus, 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.”

A spokesperson for Airbus in the UK said: “Airbus is delighted to be working with STEM Returners and recognise the need to attract people with diverse and varied experience.  We understand that there can be barriers for returners to re-enter the STEM workplace and we want to engage with people who may not have considered applying for a role with Airbus.”

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.

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

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.

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