Jacobs expands support programme for career break returners
Initiative brings skilled people back to STEM careers, promotes inclusion and diversity
STEM Returners, which focuses on careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, will source experienced engineering and project management professionals for fully paid, 12-week placements. These ”returnships” allow candidates to refresh their skills and gain valuable experience that can help them transition back into the workforce full time. Jacobs has pledged to fill 50 such roles across the UK including in London, Bristol, Gloucester, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow.
Karen McCormack completed the programme in 2022 and is now a project manager at Jacobs. She took a caring-related career break and spent 12 years away from the industry. Despite years of engineering experience in Scotland and Norway, she found it challenging to get back into the workforce.
“I would hear absolutely nothing back, not even a rejection, just nothing at all,” Karen explained. “To say it was disheartening is an understatement. But I saw in STEM Returners the possibility of a lifeline and the team were hugely supportive. I have had the opportunity to take part in several training courses designed to reskill or upskill.”
The UK has an estimated shortfall of over 173,000 workers in STEM-related jobs, with an average of 10 unfilled roles per business costing the economy £1.5 billion each year.
“STEM Returners enables us to bring highly talented individuals back into the workplace, with strong technical skills and broader life experiences. This brings new diversity of thought and helps us create innovative solutions for our clients,” said Jacobs’ Inclusion & Diversity Director Europe Melissa Godfray.
“In February, we augmented our 40:40:20 gender balance commitment (40% men, 40% women and 20% open to any gender) to specifically include leadership positions. STEM Returners will help us increase diverse talent in mid-senior level positions and enhances Jacobs’ leading-edge approach to driving inclusion and diversity.”
STEM Returners Director Natalie Desty said: “Only by partnering with industry leaders like Jacobs will we make vital changes in STEM recruitment practices, to help those who are finding it challenging to return to the sector, reduce the skills gap and improve inclusion and diversity.”