MBDA and STEM Returners collaborate to help engineers re-start their careers

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Monday 29 January 2024

We want everyone who joins us to feel welcomed, included and able to achieve their highest potential. We know that for some, that can be harder than for others, and we have many support initiatives to help.

One of those challenges is returning to work following a career break. So we're partnering with STEM Returners to launch a new programme to help professionals on a career break return to work.

STEM Returners supports highly qualified and experienced STEM professionals return to work after a career break. We share their objective of increasing diversity in STEM and creating a sector where everyone feels valued, supported and included.

Their programmes aim to eliminate barriers by giving candidates real work experience and mentoring during their placement, supporting them in seamlessly adjusting to life back at work.

Working with STEM Returners, they will source up to 10 candidates, who we will then support in professional roles across our Operations and Engineering functions at our Bolton, Bristol and Stevenage sites.

Our project will facilitate paid short-term employment placements for professionals returning to work after a career break. Alongside the experience gained from the work placement, STEM Returners will also support the candidate with advice, career coaching, networking opportunities and mentoring. 

At the end of the programme, all the candidates will also have the opportunity to restart their careers in a permanent position.

Whilst this isn't our first time helping people on a career break return to work, we hope that together with STEM Returners we can help build on the success of more than 450 STEM Returners candidates having joined similar programmes across the UK.


Returner Experiences from current MBDA Employees 

Liz, who returned to work at MBDA after a five-year career break, said, “When I returned after my career break, MBDA understood my childcare needs and I was offered a reduced hours contract in acknowledgement of my personal circumstances. I joined a team of helpful and enthusiastic individuals who, very quickly, made me feel accepted, included and technically respected. Since then, my career has gone from strength to strength and I’m grateful to MBDA for recognising and celebrating the skills I bring to the workplace.”

Forty-six per cent of STEM returners are women, so one of the aims is for our partnership to help our commitment to achieving 30% female representation by 2030.

Matt Beaumont, Director of Mechanical Engineering and the sponsor of GEN-EQ, MBDA’s gender balance network, said, "We are pleased to be working with STEM Returners and to be part of driving change to improve the return to work for the highly skilled people our industry needs.

"People who take a break from their STEM career will have invested time and effort in gaining their skills and experience. As a company with engineering at its heart, it's our responsibility to provide a professional, inclusive and supportive workplace where they can continue their careers and be valued."

Natalie Desty, Director of STEM Returners adds, “We are delighted to be working with MBDA, who share in our commitment to increase equity in STEM and improve the way people who are on a career break return to work. There is a misconception that a career break leads to a deterioration of skills but that could not be further from the truth.

If you want to restart the career that you worked hard to build, and are interested in the programmes we are offering with STEM Returners their website here.