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We are proud to have formed a new partnership with STEM Returners to help engineers return to the sector after a career break. Find out more below, or through our feature here: STEM Returners

“Aquila Nuclear Engineering, a Cyclife EDF group subsidiary, delivers projects across a range of domestic and international nuclear market sectors. from the design concept stage right through to manufacturing, testing, installation and commissioning.

The company will offer a pilot STEM Returners programme at their site near Winchester, Hampshire, which kicks off with the role of Senior Mechanical Design Engineer. The role will open to engineers who have struggled to return to their career through standard recruitment channels.

STEM Returners programmes act as a ‘returnship’, allowing candidates to be re-integrated into an inclusive environment upon their return to STEM.

Annual research from STEM Returners (The STEM Returners Index) has revealed the challenges engineers face when trying to return to work, following a career break. Recruitment bias is shown to be the main barrier to entry.

Natalie Desty, Director of STEM Returners said: “We are very proud to be entering this new partnership with Aquila, to return highly skilled people back into the industry they love. Only by partnering with industry leaders like Aquila, will we make vital changes in STEM recruitment practices, to help those who are finding it challenging to return to the sector and improve diversity and inclusion.”

Grace McMullan, Recruitment Advisor at Aquila, said: “At Aquila Nuclear Engineering, we strive to break down barriers and build an inclusive and diverse workforce. We support those who have taken a career break and aim to get them back into their chosen profession. We have recently formed a new partnership with STEM Returners to help Engineers get back into work, and we couldn’t be more excited.”

There is currently a well-known skills shortage in the UK engineering industry, but despite a clear need for people, professionals who have had a career break are often overlooked. STEM Returners has recently launched the 2022 STEM Returners Index to better understand STEM professionals’ experiences of trying to re-enter the sector after a career break.

The survey is open to all STEM professionals who have had a gap in their career, who are attempting to return to work, or who have recently returned to work. It is anonymous and asks a variety of questions including reasons for a career break, what challenges were faced when attempting to return to work and what impact COVID-19 had on finding a role.

The STEM Returners’ programme 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 with a shortage of skilled professionals, it also has the added benefit of increasing diversity in a host organisation. STEM Returners’ population of experienced professionals attempting to return to work are 51% female and 38% from black and minority ethnic groups, compared to 10% female and 6% BME working in the STEM industry. Successful candidates may be offered full-time positions at Aquila upon the completion of their 12-week placement. Since STEM Returners launched in 2017, nearly 250 STEM Returner candidates have joined programmes across the UK”.