Despite building a very successful career Richard found himself on a career break following redundancy. Knowing that his skills were in short supply he wasn’t concerned until a few months passed and he wasn’t hearing back from applications that his skills were closely aligned to. It appeared that the impersonal nature of online applications meant that his long career and key skills were being overlooked and he wasn’t getting the opportunity to showcase his skills to prospective employers. After finding out about STEM Returners Richard applied to BT who immediately recognised the huge value he had to offer. Here is Richards story.
Why did you approach STEM Returners?
Having been made redundant from my role as a Remote IT Support Specialist after 5 years in July 2019, I made full use of the companies exit program to have some marketing coaching & a professional CV written for both the IT & more generic sectors. I attended job fairs & had several interviews, with companies & staffing agencies alike, only to hear the “you’ve been unsuccessful on this occasion” or “we will be in touch when something suitable arises” but the phone stayed silent. I shortlisted several local companies I could check & apply for listed vacancies directly via their websites, however I never appeared to be able to get past their screening process and have the opportunity to sell myself face to face at interview. It was becoming a little disheartening and frustrating when not hearing back from agencies or from applications made online, a process which generally appeared to be very impersonal. After several months, a former colleague got in touch to say that he would be attending an open day at BT Adastral Park, just down the road from me, and explained that he had been in touch with Natalie from STEM Returners via LinkedIn. I contacted Natalie & forwarded my CV, along with an overview of my experience along with my reasons for wishing to be considered for the open day. Natalie kept my informed throughout & confirmed very quickly that BT would like to extend me an invite to their open day.
How did STEM Returners help?
Natalie at STEM Returners has developed a fantastic idea that offers a different approach to companies struggling to fill technical roles within their organisation. STEM Returner’s has been able to demonstrate that there is a very talented pool of experienced people waiting to return to work, but who are not being considered for roles due the screening process that most companies currently have in place. STEM Returners created the opportunity to attend an open day at BT Adastral Park, the companies flagship research centre, where they had Network Operator roles available should we be successful in completing a 3 month programme. During the open day both BT and Natalie were able to show us the impressive Network Operations Centre and explain what would be expected of both the role and the STEM Returners programme. Those in attendance were able to chat to each about their experiences and discover more about BT’s networks from Andrew Mellor, the Operations Centre Manager, HR, along with talking to Natalie herself about her passion for STEM Returners. We all had informal interviews which gave us the opportunity to talk confidently about ourselves as a direct result of the enthusiasm shown to all of us by our hosts during the day.
The following morning I received very positive feedback from Natalie that I would be offered one of the places on the STEM Returners programme. Wonderful news indeed!
Natalie didn’t leave it there however, she also planned a “Confidence to Return to Work” seminar where all of those joining the return programme would receive some very helpful pointers for when we joined BT. We were able to learn about our individual journeys and how best to use our experiences and give BT feedback on how we thought the programme was working and where improvements might be able to be made. It also gave us the chance to get to know our fellow STEM Returners who we would be working alongside during the programme. The day helped to re-enforce the positivity surrounding the start of our Returners programme.
It’s been one of the highlights of this experience, that the six of us who started at BT Adastral have become close friends & have helped each other throughout the program.
What was the end result?
At the end of our 2nd month BT completed an interview process for the six of us based at BT Adastral and due in no small part to our closeness as a group and our willingness to help each other succeed, we were all offered permanent positions in the Network Operations Centre. A superb outcome for us as individuals, as a STEM Returners team & wonderful endorsement of Natalie’s STEM Returners programme.
How has this changed your career?
The STEM returners programme has provided me with an opportunity to change the direction of my career away from IT and into Network Operations with one of the countries leading employers. This was both a change and an opportunity that may never have been realised without STEM Returners. Not only was I given the chance to show what I could do, I was also given the support I needed by Natalie, my STEM colleagues and my new work colleagues at BT. The STEM Returners programme helped restore my confidence & positivity, which enabled me to take full advantage of a fantastic opportunity when it arose.
Would you recommend the programme?
Wholeheartedly yes! The STEM Returners programme helped with creating the opportunity, provided a support network and the confidence to return to work, where I felt I was able to contribute & feel a valued member of a team once more. For any company that is struggling to find experienced people, who have many skills to offer, it also provides a direct route to a talented pool of prospective employees.