Bechtel continues its drive to help engineers break the career break curse
Bechtel and STEM Returners Australia have joined forces for the second time to help engineers return to the sector after a career break.
The firm will offer the new STEM Returners program at their sites in Brisbane and Perth after a successful pilot scheme, which returned six female engineers to employment.
The new scheme is open to project managers and senior engineers from the areas of Mechanical, Electrical, Civil, Environmental engineering and will include hybrid working arrangements.
STEM Returners will source candidates for the program, which acts as a ‘returnship’, allowing candidates to be re-integrated into an inclusive environment upon their return to STEM careers. The structured placement program provides additional support which includes access to coaching and mentoring, and access to a wider support network from Bechtel and STEM Returners.
Annual research from STEM Returners reveals the challenges STEM professionals face when trying to return to work, following a career break, with recruitment bias shown to be the main barrier to entry. Other barriers include the cost of childcare, perceptions of career breaks degrading skills, and the lack of flexible working arrangements.
Marcail Roe, Director of STEM Returners Australia, said:
“We are very proud to be continuing our partnership with Bechtel to return highly skilled professionals back into the industry they love. Only by partnering with industry leaders, who share our desire to change outdated recruitment practices, will we make the vital improvements needed to help those who are finding it challenging to return to the sector and improve diversity and inclusion.”
Leigh Carter, General Manager for Bechtel’s Mining and Metals division in Australia said:
“In 2021, we worked with STEM Returners to hire a group of individuals from STEM backgrounds who had taken long-term career breaks and successfully supported their transition back into the workplace. We are really looking forward to welcoming this new group into the business and continue to build on our ability to bring people back into the workforce”
The STEM Returners’ program aims to eliminate barriers, by giving candidates real work experience and mentoring during their placement, as well as helping them to seamlessly adjust to life back in work.
Whilst the scheme helps solve the problem of sourcing talent in sectors that need it, it also has the added benefit of increasing diversity in a host organisation. STEM Returners’ population of experienced professionals in Australia attempting to return to work are 64% female and 76% from black and minority ethnic groups, compared to 10% female and 6% BME working in the STEM industry.
Maryam Memar is an experienced engineer who returned to STEM with the first Bechtel program. She said:
“I have tried to contribute to the field of electrical engineering in Australia for nearly two years, however, with the very complex and difficult procedure of getting a job position I could not find a suitable job. The STEM Returner program paved the way for me to join a worthy and well known organization and find my dream job.”
Since STEM Returners Australia launched in 2020, nearly 25 STEM Returner candidates have joined programs across Australia. To view STEM Returners Australia programs, visit Opportunities (Australia) – STEM Returners