Second phase of STEM ReCharge programme launched

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Women Returners and STEM Returners have launched the second phase of a successful return-to-work support programme.

STEM ReCharge has already helped more than 40 parents and carers with engineering and tech experience get back to their careers. 

Supported by the Minister for Women, Maria Caulfield, the Government-funded programme is providing career coaching, job skills training, mentoring and technical refresh sessions to parents and carers in the Midlands and North of England who want to return to the engineering industry following a career break.

It is delivered by return-to-work experts Women Returners and STEM Returners, and funded by the Government’s Equality Hub, backed by Minister for Women and Equalities Kemi Badenoch who told Parliament about the “full wealth” of experience those taking part in the programme have. 

Insight and lessons learned from the first group of returners, who completed the programme in June and July, are being used to support the second phase of the programme, which will start in October.

Figures from EngineeringUK suggest a net growth in engineering roles of 2.8% compared to 2.3% in all occupations, which will result in 173,000 new engineering and technology jobs by 2030 – meaning more skilled STEM professionals are needed. 

STEM ReCharge says parents and carers often face an uphill battle when trying to return to professional-level work after a long career break, facing a range of challenges from a lack of self-confidence to widespread recruiter bias against people without recent experience.

The programme tackles these barriers with a comprehensive programme coaching, training and mentoring as well as connections with employers. The project is also training local employers to be more inclusive of returners in their recruitment practices.

The first STEM ReCharge cohort supported 42 participants with an impressive range of qualifications and experience including an MBA in IT management, a first-class computing degree and more than 15 years in project management.

STEM Recharge is available to returners in the Midlands and North of England after analysis carried out by Women Returners and STEM Returners showed these areas have far fewer returner programmes than southern areas. 

Julianne Miles, CEO of Women Returners, said: “It’s fantastic to see that we’re already making such a positive impact with the STEM ReCharge support programme. 

“After a decade of supporting professionals to return to work, we’re well aware of the multiple challenges returners face, particularly in technical fields. 

“With our first STEM ReCharge cohort, we’re already seeing the power of a targeted support programme, rebuilding confidence, skills, knowledge and networks, to enable these talented returners to get back into great jobs. We’re really looking forward to welcoming the second cohort in October.” 

Returners can click here to apply for the October STEM ReCharge programme.

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