Leonardo UK launches new jobs scheme for engineers who’ve had a career break

2 min read

Aerospace engineering firm Leonardo has launched a new jobs scheme at its Helicopters site in Yeovil to further their commitment to improving diversity and inclusion across the industry.

Leonardo UK will again team up with STEM Returners to run the a 12-week programme, in which candidates will work on the design and development of the aircraft from the Yeovil site. Roles include structural design engineer, aerodynamics analyst and system safety engineer.

STEM Returners, based in Hampshire, will source the 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.

Whilst the scheme helps solve the problem 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 51% female and 38% from black and minority ethnic groups, compared to 10% female and 6% ethnic minorities working in the STEM industry.

The new STEM Returners initiative in Yeovil follows the successful roll-out of STEM Returner programmes at Leonardo’s sites in Basildon, Edinburgh, Luton and Southampton.

Natalie Desty, director of STEM Returners said: “This is the third programme we have launched with Leonardo UK and we are very proud to be continuing our work with them to return highly skilled people back into the industry they love. Only by partnering with industry leaders like Leonardo, 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.”

Mike Overd, chief military aircraft UK at Leonardo Helicopters (UK), said: “Our work with STEM Returners is aimed at finding exceptional talent to help us deliver our first class engineering and technical services. Diversity drives innovation and gives us the competitive edge, so experienced engineers from a diverse range of backgrounds are very valuable to our business.”

There is a well-known skills shortage in the UK engineering industry, but despite a clear need for people, there is a group of talented and educated professionals who are willing and able to take on these roles who are being overlooked.

In STEM Returners’ annual survey - The STEM Returners Index - 61% of STEM professionals on a career break say they are finding the process of attempting to return to work either difficult or very difficult, and 36% of returners have felt bias in the recruitment process has been a barrier to them personally returning to their career.

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.

Successful candidates may be offered full-time positions at Leonardo upon the completion of their 12-week placement. Since STEM Returners first launched in 2017, more than 200 STEM Returners candidates have joined programmes across the UK. To view STEM Returners opportunities which are currently available at Leonardo, click here.