Stephen Booker has just accepted a permanent position with BAE Systems as a Technical Publications Specialist on completion of a 12-week STEM Returners programme, a programme that saw 100% of its returners retained in permanent positions. Following a 22-year career with the Royal Navy Steve had a lot to offer employers. He is an experienced system specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the defence and space industry. He is skilled in Electronic Warfare Operational Support (EWOS), operational planning, tactics and management and has an MSc in Intelligence Systems. After being unexpectedly made redundant in 2016 Steve enjoyed a subsequent career break and was shocked to find it difficult to return to a meaningful role following his break. After 2 years Steve decided to embark on an Electronic and Electrical Engineering degree and renewed his search for a company that would be able to utilise his new skills. Here is his story:
Why did you approach STEM Returners?
I saw that STEM Returners were partnering with BAE Systems in New Malden in an area that I wanted to gain more experience in. I wanted to secure a STEM related position that recognised my work history but also completed the study that I was undertaking at the time. Having spent most of my career in the defence sector I felt that I would have a lot to offer BAE so applied.
How did STEM Returners help?
Firstly, it was so refreshing to see that there was a programme that recognised my prior work experience and didn’t view a 2-year career gap as a barrier. It seemed inconceivable to me that a 30-year career could be overshadowed by a 2-year career break, but it certainly seemed to be happening in the industry. STEM Returners provided the vital introduction to like-minded employers.
What was the end result?
I was offered a 3-month position initially with a view to future employment. At the end of the programme I was delighted to be offered a permanent role and I am now a Technical Publications Specialist working on interesting projects as part of a great team.
How has this changed your career?
It has re-started my career in a sector and company in which my experience and passion lies.
Would you recommend the programme?
Absolutely. I wholeheartedly recommend to both returners and employers. For returners it is a way to ensure that your skills are recognised and valued, and for employers a chance to ensure that you are attracting the best people.