Glasgow ‘returners programme’ praised


A Glasgow woman has praised a programme that helped her return to work after the pandemic. 

Hayley Holguin took redundancy during lockdown and took a job in a local school. She wanted to return to engineering but even with seven years of experience in the aviation industry and a degree in Mechanical and Power Plant Systems, she found it difficult to get a role. 

“Once everything started to pick up again, I wanted to go back into engineering,” she said. “It can be daunting going to a new job but even more so after some time away, you worry if you will remember everything, if you are still able to work at the standard you did before and how you will adjust to the work environment again.”

Hayley saw a STEM Returners programme with Thales in the UK and decided to apply. She completed the 12-week placement at the Glasgow site, which also provided a mentor and extra support to transition back into work, and has now secured a permanent position as a Systems Engineer.

Hayley added: “When I saw the ad for STEM Returners, I felt a sense of relief because it is something for people specifically in that situation so there is the support and understanding on both sides.”

The programme with Thales in the UK was so successful a second one has now been launched. 

Thales in the UK, which develops high-tech solutions, services and products for the security, defence and security, aerospace, space, and transport sectors, will provide a STEM Returners programme at their sites in Cheadle, Crawley and Templecombe for up to 10 professionals. Roles will include Systems Engineer, Software Engineer and Hardware Engineer. 

Annual research from STEM Returners (The STEM Returners Index) shows the challenges people face when trying to return to work following a career break, with recruitment bias shown to be the main barrier to entry. It also shows women trying to return to industry are more likely to experience recruitment bias than men.

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