In a big boost to engineers, Aerospace and defence company Babcock has announced it will be offering a number of new ‘STEM returnships’, at its Devonport Royal Dockyard site in Plymouth. Babcock is fully committed to ensuring that employment opportunities are accessible to all.
This programme is for those wanting to return or transfer to a science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) based career and has been recognised by Maritime UK as a vital tool for workforce diversity. The unique scheme offers engineers who have taken a gap in their career, to gain recent industry experience by undertaking a fully paid 12-week placement, with the opportunity to gain a permanent position long term.
With the STEM skills gap currently causing an estimated 89% of UK businesses difficulty in recruiting new talent, this scheme allows companies to tap into a unique talent pool of engineers, scientists and other STEM professionals.
Upon successful completion of the 12-week programme, candidates may be offered full-time positions at Babcock. In total from 2018, 15 Babcock STEM Returners have been offered full-time roles after their placement.
Viktorija Broadbent, who took part in the 2020 Babcock STEM Returner programme based at Devonport Royal Dockyard commented:
“I think the STEM Returners programme is a great opportunity for anybody who wants to get back into engineering. It is never too late and I definitely would recommend this programme.”
In November 2020 the programme was recognised for its progress in changing recruitment methods and attitudes with the prestigious Maritime UK Diversity award after successfully returning nearly 200 engineers back into industries around the UK.
This innovative programme also aims to reduce the gender gap in Engineering, with only 1 in 10 engineering posts in the industry currently held by women, much more needs to be done to increase the number of females working in engineering. The UK’s Women in Engineering Society estimate up to 20,000 qualified female engineers could potentially fill many job vacancies after career breaks.
The diverse nature of the returner’s talent pool means that the programme can be seen as a valuable tool for tackling under representation of minority groups in the UK’s engineering workforce.
The Royal Academy of Engineering recently revealed that while 26% of UK domiciled engineering graduates are Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME), they only make up 6% of full-time engineers. The STEM Returners programme however has seen a third of its successful candidates belonging to ethnic minority groups.
In a recent report commissioned by the STEM Returners Company, of the engineers they surveyed, two-thirds believed the recruitment process actively works against them.
Natalie Desty, Director and founder of the STEM Returners Programme said: “At a time when we are suffering a shortfall of STEM professionals in the UK, we believe the STEM Returners programme is more important than ever.
“Having previously run successful programmes with Babcock, it is fantastic news that we will again be partnering to provide incredible opportunities for those who feel left behind by outdated recruitment methods.”
Eleanor Carron, Design Engineer and 2020 STEM Returner at Devonport Royal Dockyard, thoroughly enjoyed her experience and said:
“My 13 week placement was based within the Mechanical Handling team. The programme provided a great opportunity to learn and grow through being involved in exciting and challenging projects, whilst giving me enough support that I didn’t feel overwhelmed by the challenge.
“I would definitely recommend the programme, especially to people that don’t have enough recent relevant experience on their CV to gain direct entry, but at the same time do not feel that the graduate scheme is the correct route for them.”