Yesterday saw the launch of our first STEM Returners programme with Babcock. A fantastic day which made all the hard work so worthwhile in getting this programme off the ground. I have always been passionate about creating a returners programme within engineering for two very simple reasons, there are skilled candidates who have so much to give to a second career (who aren’t even getting an interview through standard recruitment channels) and secondly engineering desperately needs more engineers. Creating a pilot in partnership with the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) has allowed us to facilitate a supported back to work programme, and create networks between employers and returners, a talent pool which, believe me, are very hard to find!
Just why this programme is so needed has been cemented time and time again in the conversations that I have had with those looking to return, these fantastically qualified candidates receive consistent rejections when they try to re-enter engineering, many not even reaching a hiring managers attention before they are filtered out of the process. If I look at any one of our returners who started with Babcock yesterday I can unreservedly say this makes no business sense at all!
Luckily Babcock agree, and have put together a fantastic 13-week programme in which the returners will receive internal and external mentoring, soft skills training, technical training as well as on the job training. All the candidates can also secure an ongoing permanent role with Babcock at the end of the programme. Whilst this is the candidates primary focus, the programme will also enhance their skills and experience (in technical and soft skills development), and confidence which is all too often knocked by a career break (and the frustrations when they try to return). Being a ‘returners’ programme was also important; this programme is open to anyone who has taken a career break from engineering, and it is great to welcome 3 males and 2 females on to the inaugural programme.
Every candidate has had a very different career journey and career break, whilst some have taken a career break from engineering, others have an engineering degree that they have never used. All now have the same opportunity to increase their confidence, gain valuable experience, increase networks and hopefully secure a permanent role. Watch this space for 5 Engineers who are well and truly back!!