Shropshire Star

Engineering firm launches new jobs scheme to help people back to work after a career break

An international defence engineering firm, with headquarters in Telford, has teamed up with STEM Returners to help engineers get back into work after a career break.

Natalie Desty, director of STEM Returners

Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) designs, manufactures and support military vehicles used by the British Army and international customers.

RBSL and STEM Returners will run the first 12-week ‘returners programme’ in Telford. Roles will cover system and electronics engineering, procurement and project management.

Hampshire-based company, STEM Returners, will source the candidates for the fully-paid placements, which allow candidates to be re-integrated into an inclusive environment upon their return to STEM.

The scheme helps source talent in sectors that need highly-skilled individuals, with the added benefit of increasing diversity in the host organisation – in 2021, 10 per cent of the STEM workforce are female and six per cent are from a BME background.

Natalie Desty, director of STEM Returners, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with RBSL and hope this is the start of a strong, long-term collaboration. There is a known shortage of skills across STEM industries and we know that people who have had a career break are faced with an uphill task in getting back into the profession.

“To be working with a company such as RBSL is very positive and a major step in showing STEM recruitment practices, which is the key to helping those struggling to return to the sector, can change.”

Ian Yewer, human resources director for RBSL, said: “RBSL is thrilled to be launching the STEM Returners programme to support us in finding exceptional talent and deliver our first-class engineering services.

“RBSL is currently preparing to deliver key programmes for the UK MOD and British Army. To be able to use this work as an opportunity to support our local community and protect advanced skills across a number of disciplines is a privilege and source of great pride.”

Despite a clear need for highly-skilled engineers in the UK, people who have had a career break at are often over looked for roles. In STEM Returners’ annual survey – The STEM Returners Index – 61 per cent of STEM professionals on a career break said they were finding the process of attempting to return to work either difficult or very difficult, and 36 per cent 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.

Successful candidates may be offered full-time positions at RBSL upon the completion of their placement. Since STEM Returners launched in 2017, more than 200 candidates have secured a permanent role.

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