Careers aren’t always perfectly mapped out journeys from one job or role to the next, often for the millions of STEM professionals in the UK, changes that affect career paths have a detrimental effect on our ’employability’ when screened against outdated recruitment methods.
For Haley Storey from Hampshire, she believed that her decision to take a career-break and start a family would stop her STEM career in its tracks.
“I left my role as a production manager in 2003 when I started my family. I then started up a small online business and ran that for the next 15 years.”
“I thought this meant that I had left my engineering days behind.”
“Without any recent experience, I didn’t think I would ever return to a technical job as my recent self-employed work was not relevant.”
However, Haley found herself returning to her dream career as quick as a flash when she discovered the STEM Returners Programme.
“I found an advert in my inbox one lunchtime and thought it sounded interesting.”
“I didn’t expect anything to come of it, but things moved quickly! – I found myself at the Royal Navy base having a tour of the Queen Elizabeth Carrier not long after” She said.
Coming from the historic naval city of Portsmouth, Haley secured a placement on the STEM Returners Programme at BAE Systems, working at the dockyard that makes the city famous.
“I was able to spend time learning and shadowing (whilst completing the programme) and wasn’t expected to know everything straight away.
“I’m now a permanent member of the team, working as a Project Engineer on the Type 45 Destroyer project!”
Looking back at her extended break from STEM, Haley didn’t expect to be given the chance to return, despite her extensive experience and technical ability.
“Even though my career was important in my twenties and early thirties, it became less important when I started my family and I thought I would be stuck in average jobs until I retired. I never envisaged starting a new career at the age of 50.” She said.
“STEM Returners enabled my CV to be seen when otherwise it would have been left at the bottom of the pile.”
When asked whether she would recommend a STEM Returners Programme to those looking to return to the industry;
“Absolutely. I was scared to take the opportunity because I was lacking confidence but I am glad I did.”