STEM Returners: creating new talent pools in STEM

Help is finally on the way for the thousands of STEM candidates who want to return to engineering after a career break, but fear that their skills are out of date. An exciting new ‘STEM Returners Programme’ is specifically designed to help them return to their former careers, as well as re-train STEM candidates from other industries.
We know that two of the biggest challenges facing STEM are the widening skills gap, and the lack of positive progress in diversity. Considering these challenges, The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST), in partnership with Women’s Engineering Society (WES), is excited to be launching a ‘STEM Returners Programme’ which will positively affect both issues. In addition, the programme will also serve as a transfer of learning programme, to allow employers to attract and re-train engineers from other industries. This is an industry wide programme and will look to attract diverse candidates from all areas of technical STEM, as well as business roles such as HR, procurement, finance and leadership.
How will it work?
The programme is a structured, paid 13-week employment placement for professionals returning to work after a career break, or looking to transfer between sectors. Alongside the experience gained from the work placement, the programme will provide additional support for the returner, such as training, career coaching, networking opportunities and peer support. At the end of the programme, at the agreement of the employer and the returner, there will also be the option for ongoing employment. This isn’t just work experience, but a genuine opportunity to restart careers!
Closing the CV gap
STEM Returners is designed to attract and enable diverse candidates to apply, those candidates who are currently completely lost to traditional recruitment methods. A CV gap is often an insurmountable barrier to recruitment, viewed as a major technical skills and knowledge gap by both employers and returners. It can also lead to would-be returners losing confidence in finding a way back to work. That means a huge amount of talent and investment in people is wasted. The programme will allow companies to access this ‘lost’ talent, and attract those candidates wishing to transfer their STEM skills between industries, in the process building a more flexible and responsive workforce to both employee and client’s needs.
The Returners Programme is open to all candidates with a STEM background, who have taken a career break and are looking to restart their career, through a supported return to work scheme. It will also support those candidates who are interested in transferring to a different sector, but lack the relevant experience to apply through traditional recruitment channels.
Both the returners and employers will be fully supported throughout the programme which includes confidence training and coaching for the returner, a 13 week fully supported paid internship and a diverse and evolved mentoring scheme.
If you are an employer that is interested in attracting a new talent pool of experienced and diverse candidates, please contact us to participate in the programme. If you are a candidate looking to return to STEM, or transfer between sectors please register for one of the programmes. To find out more about the benefits of running or registering a Returners Programme please visit

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