After being made redundant following 17 years with the same company Steve was confident in securing a new role. He had lots of fantastic experience and had kept an eye on the engineering market and knew it was buoyant. He was proactive with his CV and covering letter applying to different vacancies and speaking to lots of recruitment consultants about his experience. Despite his experience and proactiveness, Steve still found himself sending his CV into a black hole with very little feedback or engagement and quickly became disillusioned and frustrated. Unfortunately Steve’s experience is not uncommon, which is why STEM Returners creates opportunities for candidates after a career break or redundancy who are so often lost to standard recruitment channels to overcome the barriers that make it difficult to return. Here is Steve’s experience:
Why did you become a STEM Returner?
I hadn’t actually heard of STEM Returners before I applied, I didn’t know such an organisation existed. Natalie from STEM Returners found my details on LinkedIn and sent me a message and connection request. I did my research on the STEM Returners website and it seemed that I could be an ideal candidate for a programme, and it certainly seemed a welcome change to the standard non personal application process. I sent my CV and covering letter to Natalie and followed with a call to see whether I would be a suitable candidate for the current programmes. Natalie had already looked at my CV and suggested that she put me forward for the BT STEM Returners programme running in Ipswich. I had actually worked for BT 24 years previously and had lots of transferrable skills so jumped at the chance! After so much frustration in applying for roles and never hearing back, it was so refreshing to be approached because someone saw the value in my skills and experience!
How did STEM Returners help?
STEM Returners really helped me as I was disillusioned and felt devalued after being made redundant in August 2018 after 17 years with the same company. I had been active in getting my CV out there to different vacancies and with different agencies and recruitment consultants and the response was very poor. STEM Returners helped me get back into a work placement with BT at Ipswich following an open day that Natalie had organised. This was a day where I was able to meet some fellow STEM Returners plus BT senior management and HR. It was a really laid back experience with informal interviews and gave us the opportunity to find out more about the people, roles and company.
What was the end result?
Following the informal open day I was advised that I was selected to join the programme and would be joining 10 other returners on a 12 week back to work programme. The 12 weeks is designed for the returner to increase their confidence and gain skills and for the employer to provide support and assess our suitability for a permanent role. It was important to know that a permanent position was attainable alongside the valuable paid work experience as part of the programme. On week 9 of the programme BT reviewed my performance and following an interview offered me a permanent position, along with all of my colleagues on the programme which was fantastic!
How has this changed your career?
The STEM Returners programme has enabled me to get back to work after being made redundant and feeling really devalued and useless. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to join the placement and to build my confidence again. I have been treated as a valued member of a team/ big family where my skills are recognised.
Would you recommend the programme?
I would happily recommend the STEM Returners programme, not just to potential returners but employers too. Having breaks in your CV leave you much less likely to gain another position so employers who can see beyond this and employ returners are, in my opinion, very forward thinking. I thank BT for being supportive of STEM Returners and in recognising our skills and taking a chance on us. It has been great to be given this opportunity and to learn new skills, meet new people and feel valued once again. I must add that Natalie is fantastic. She works so hard to promote the value that returners have to offer and is really supportive to us too, doing everything she can to ensure that that we achieve permanent positions.