Celebrating International Women’s Day this year, we look back at some of our inspirational female returners who have found their way back into STEM via the programme.
Currently, only one in ten engineering posts is held by a woman. Every woman in STEM is a trailblazer for the next generation of female engineers, as we bid to make the industry more inclusive and gender representative of society.
Helen was a broadcast media professional whose goal was to transfer to an engineering role close to home, eventually, she found STEM Returners who helped her enter a rewarding second career with BT.
“I had lost confidence after being unemployed for four months and I had applied for jobs and not had any response. I didn’t know what career steps to take next.”
“Recruitment agencies didn’t know which jobs to put me forward for and some even suggested changing my CV to appear more Secretarial.”
“STEM Returners helped utilise skills that I thought I could no longer use. I had worked in broadcast engineering at the beginning of my career and then changed to Broadcast media, so I thought my older skills would not be relevant.”
“I’ve been able to gain new experience and build on skills I had previously. I have regained confidence being part of the STEM Returners training programme and there are further training courses available to me as a permanent employee.”
“For me the whole experience has been insightful, helpful and rewarding. I was placed on the STEM Returners training with five other STEM Returners, and we have all supported each other and have become friends through the process.”
As a hugely experienced and chartered Mechanical Engineer, Katherine didn’t expect to be forced to take non-engineering roles. However, after a career break, her time away from engineering prevented her from finding a role, until she was found by STEM Returners.
“I hadn’t heard of STEM Returners before but really liked the concept and felt that it was very much needed within engineering.”
“It was refreshing to have the opportunity to be judged by what I could offer to an organisation.
Although I had been consistently in work, much of this had been outside of engineering and I was soon to find that once you are out, it can be very difficult to get back in!
“The hardest thing to do is to get your CV in front of the right person. STEM Returners provided a much-needed introduction that meant that my CV was less relevant and I could explain my experience in person and later demonstrate my capabilities on the job through the 12-week programme.”
“After only 6 weeks, my skills were recognised, and I was encouraged to interview for an internal permanent position as Senior Project Engineer. I was delighted to be offered the job and now have an opportunity to work within an exciting engineering environment which is my true passion.”
After finding STEM Returners through the Women’s Engineering Society, Tamsin achieved a permanent role at Babcock international through her 12-week STEM Returners Programme.
“When I saw the STEM Returners programme advertised in the WES newsletter, I saw it as a perfect fit for my situation, and I hoped that it would enable me to transition back into an engineering career.”
“As a single mum, I always prioritise my son’s needs when looking at job opportunities. I saw that STEM Returners was set up for people just like me, and it was great to finally see a scheme that recognised that not everyone follows the same career route.”
“If you have had a break from STEM (for whatever reason) and still have that nagging feeling that you should be doing something more, then do it! Otherwise, you will always wonder ‘what if?’”
“Take the risk, put yourself out there and give it all you’ve got. This programme could be your ticket to getting back to a career path that you wish you hadn’t left.”
Dorota came to the UK with a master’s degree from her native Poland, however, her lack of relevant experience in the UK saw her face rejection via standard recruitment methods.
“I was working and volunteering but not in the engineering field. Whilst volunteering I was constantly looking for opportunities within my profession, and when I found out about STEM Returners, I decided to try and get into engineering with their help.”
“I became part of a great supportive team. It also gave me a chance to work for a prestigious company that produce a world-class product.
“My skills were recognised, and I finally started my career in engineering. I can now continue to develop and at the same time add value to the company.”
STEM Returners specialise in returning and transferring engineers into roles with programme hosts – especially those who have taken enforced career-breaks like Haley.
An experienced Production Manager, Haley decided to take a break from engineering in 2003 as she started her family. Fast-forward 17 years later and she had just secured her dream permanent role with BAE Systems after a 12-week placement.
“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.”
“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”
“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!”
“STEM Returners enabled my CV to be seen when otherwise it would have been left at the bottom of the pile. I was scared to take the opportunity because I was lacking confidence but I am glad I did.”