Defence and Security giants BAE Systems have teamed up again with Hampshire based STEM Returners to help beat what the recruitment company calls the “career break curse”.
The STEM Returners programme offers engineers a 12-week paid placement at BAE Systems’ air division in its sites across the UK, following a set of successful programmes in which 96% of participants secured a route back to full-time work.
Mohammed Seth, who took part in the pilot programme at BAE Warton that welcomed back 20 returners to engineering, is testament to the opportunities the programme provides.
“I thought the STEM Returners Programme was too good to be true. I had previously been completing vigorous online tests for all other roles I was being rejected for.”
Despite having a wealth of experience, Mohammed struggled to gain a foothold in the industry.
“I had graduated two years prior with a First-Class Degree in Energy Engineering from the University Of Central Lancashire. I then went onto complete a 12-month placement for Jaguar Land Rover.”
“I had been applying for different roles, completing the online tests and even passing those; however, I never seemed to get through to the next stage.”
Mohammed stumbled upon the programme with BAE Systems by chance, even though at first, he was unconvinced by its simplicity.
“I found STEM Returners whilst looking for Engineering Jobs around Preston. When I first saw the ad, I was very surprised as it seemed like a very straight forward process in which you go for an interview, followed by a placement, then potentially a permanent role.”
“I thought this was too good to be true as I had been completing vigorous online tests for all other roles I was applying for. Nevertheless, I applied!”
Mohammed’s skills shone through during selection and he went on to join the placement at BAE’s air division.
Mohammed eventually secured a full-time role following his placement as Learning Development Engineer
“The placement experience was brilliant.”
“My team members were also very accommodating. I have learnt a lot during my time, and I am still learning something new everyday!”
Mohammed isn’t alone though – the programme specifically aims to help underrepresented groups re-enter industry, bypassing the barriers the so often work against them in the recruitment process.
34% of previous returners come from an ethnically diverse background, whilst 46% are women, bucking national trends.
This was rewarded in 2020 and 2021 as the programme won awards in diversity and inclusion from Maritime UK and Enginuity.
Natalie Desty, founder of STEM Returners said:
“It is excellent news that BAE Systems Air division have followed up on our successful 2020 programme together.”
“There are lots of initiatives to cater to the next generation of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) workers but the STEM Returners programme is aimed specifically at those wishing to go back to engineering mid-career.”
“Our track record shows that these programmes benefit those locked out of engineering, science and technology by changing the broken recruitment system.”
David Dickinson, Lead Consultant Engineer of BAE Systems said:
‘In our ongoing search for a talented and diverse workforce we are delighted to be able to work with the ‘STEM Returners’ who provide access to a rich vein of fantastic candidates that would otherwise have been invisible to us’.