BAE Systems launch new programme to support engineers return to work after a career break | Glasgow Chamber of Commerce
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BAE Systems launch new programme to support engineers return to work after a career break

Engineers and STEM professions across Scotland who are struggling to return to the sector after a career break have a new opportunity through a scheme launched by BAE Systems and STEM Returners. 

The 12-week returners programme will be based in Glasgow and is the latest in a successful history of programmes between STEM Returners and BAE Systems which have helped returned more than 85 engineers back to the STEM industry. 

There will be a total of nine new roles across Naval Ships Engineering in 2023, six in Glasgow and three launched in southern sites later this year. 

BAE Systems was one of the first organisations to work with STEM Returners when it started in 2017. 

STEM Returners will source candidates for the programme, which aims to return or transfer experienced engineers back into industry following a career break. The fully paid placements act as a ‘returnship’, allowing candidates to be re-integrated into an inclusive environment upon their return to STEM. 

Natalie Desty, Director of STEM Returners, said: “Through our partnership over the years, we have worked together to create a supportive and inclusive environment where returners can really thrive. 

“We are proud to be continuing our partnership with BAE Systems with the launch of this new programme that will provide opportunities for engineers and STEM professionals to return to the sector.” 

Stuart Justice, Engineering Director, BAE Systems Maritime – Naval Ships, said: “We are really keen to work with STEM Returners again and welcome back skilled resource to the industry. We need qualified engineers now more than ever and have a growing order book for Global Combat Ship meaning there is exciting, long-term work available for people to develop their career.” 

Annual research from STEM Returners (The STEM Returners Index) has revealed the challenges people who have had career break face, when trying to return – recruitment bias being the main barrier to entry. Sixty-six percent of STEM professionals on a career break said they are finding the process of attempting to return to work either difficult or very difficult and that nearly half (46%) of participants said they felt bias because of a lack of recent experience. 

STEM Returners’ programme aims to eliminate these barriers, by giving candidates real work experience and mentoring during their placement and helping them to seamlessly adjust to life back in work. 

Whilst the scheme helps solve the challenge 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 who are attempting to return to work are 46% female and 44% from ethnic minority groups, compared to 14% female and 9% from ethnic minority groups working in industry. 

Natalie added: “Engineers who have a career break on their CV are often overlook for roles due to recruitment bias, but they have the skills, dedication and passion to make a valuable contribution to any company. Only by partnering with industry leaders like BAE, 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.” 

Since STEM Returners first launched in 2017, more than 310 STEM Returners candidates have joined programmes across the UK. To view STEM Returners opportunities, visit


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