Edwards, a global leader in vacuum and abatement technologies, has teamed up with STEM Returners to provide desperately needed opportunities for engineers to break the so-called ‘career break curse’ in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The multinational firm is offering up to six placements at its Eastbourne, East Sussex and Clevedon, Somerset sites as part of its pilot STEM Returners programme – aimed at skilled engineers who feel left behind by outdated recruitment methods.
The STEM Returners recruitment programme is seen as an important step to help plug the skills gap facing UK engineering, especially following the challenges brought about by Covid-19. The programme also aims to increase diversity in the sector, with only one in 10 UK engineering posts held by women and only three in 50 from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background.
Hampshire-based STEM Returners recently conducted a study with the help of 350 engineers. The report, titled ‘STEM: The Hidden Workforce’ found that two-thirds of engineers believe the recruitment process works against them.
But with STEM Returners’ innovative programme, these same engineers are given an opportunity, with 12-week fully paid placements, to show their true value to firms.
The company can now boast over 150 individuals returned to full-time engineering roles – with Edwards being the latest firm to commit to the programme.
“There are lots of initiatives to cater for the next generation of STEM workers, but the STEM Returners programme is aimed specifically at those wishing to go back to engineering mid-career,” said Natalie Desty, director of STEM Returners.
“The opportunity to work with an industry leader such as Edwards is fantastic, and the launch of their pilot STEM Returners programme shows their passion towards increasing the diversity in their workforce,” She added.
The programme is open to men and women who have taken any length career break, as well as those who wish to transfer sectors but lack the relevant work experience. The roles on offer at Edwards will range from Senior Electrical Engineer to Software Development Engineer, with applications open to any engineer looking to transfer or return to the sector.
At the end of the 12 weeks, job offers may be made by Edwards to those who have shown the necessary skills and aptitude to join the organisation. This is not just work experience, but a genuine opportunity to restart careers within an exciting organisation.
Louisa Woods, Diversity & Inclusion Manager at Edwards, commented: “As an organisation, we’re committed to promoting an inclusive and diverse workplace where collaboration, learning and innovation thrive. Our collaboration with STEM Returners is an exciting opportunity to tap into a new talent pool and bring fresh perspectives into our organisation, while at the same time providing a helping hand to those wanting to re-join the engineering sector.”