Thales UK launches new jobs scheme to get engineers back to work after a career break

Natalie Desty (Director of STEM Returners)

GLOBAL technology company Thales UK has teamed up with the STEM Returners to launch a pilot programme open to engineers who have had a career break. 

Thales UK develops high-tech solutions, services and products to help companies and organisations in the security, defence and security, aerospace, space, and transport sectors to achieve their goals and ambitions.

The new jobs scheme will be based at the sites in Glasgow or Reading and roles include electronics and systems engineers.

STEM Returners, based in Hampshire, will source 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. 

Annual research from STEM Returners has revealed the challenges people who have had career break face, when trying to return – recruitment bias being the main barrier to entry.

Natalie Desty, Director of STEM Returners said: “We are very proud to be entering this new partnership with Thales UK to return highly skilled people back into the industry they love. Only by partnering with industry leaders like Thales UK, 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.”

Gordon Noble, Deputy Head of Engineering at Thales UK, said: “We decided to run a STEM Returners programme as we want to continue the growth of a diverse and skilled team of Engineers, who will become key to the successful future delivery of life saving products and services to our customers. STEM Returners opens the door to a previously hidden pool of talent who we’d love to come and join our team here at Thales UK and help us to build a future we can all trust.”

The STEM Returners programme aims to eliminate barriers, by giving candidates real work experience and mentoring during their placement and helping them to adjust seamlessly to work life. 

The scheme helps solve the problem of sourcing talent in sectors that need it and 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 (BME), compared to 10% female and 6% BME working in the STEM industry.

Successful candidates may be offered full-time positions at Thales UK upon completion of their 12-week placement. Since STEM Returners launched in 2017, nearly 250 STEM Returner candidates have joined programmes across the UK. Positions are available to view at

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