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The Business Magazine July 2024
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STEM Returners to help Oxfordshire engineers get back into work

The Business Magazine article image for: STEM Returners to help Oxfordshire engineers get back into work
Image: NUVIA
10 July 2024
Image: NUVIA

A new jobs programme in Oxfordshire has been launched to help STEM professionals return to work after a career break.

The returners programme is being run through a partnership between STEM Returners and international engineering, services and products company NUVIA.

NUVIA works throughout the life cycle of a nuclear facility – from design, construction, operations, risk management and maintenance to decommissioning and waste management.

Working with STEM Returners, NUVIA will provide a new programme at their site near Harwell and Didcot, as well as in Warrington.

Engineering and design roles will be available across civil and structural, electrical, controls and instrument, and mechanical disciplines.

STEM Returners, based in Hampshire, will source the candidates and provide career coaching and mentoring throughout the 12-week paid placement.

Returners may be offered the opportunity to become permanent NUVIA employees at the end of the programme.

Research from STEM Returners 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.

STEM Returners’ programmes aim to eliminate these barriers by giving candidates real work experience and mentoring during their placement, as well as supporting them to adjust to life back in work.

Natalie Desty, director of STEM Returners said: “We are very proud to be entering this new partnership with NUVIA, to return highly skilled people back into the industry they love.

“There is a well-known skills shortage in the UK engineering industry, but despite a clear need for people, professionals who have had a career break are often overlooked.

“Only by partnering with industry leaders like NUVIA 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.”

Paula Quinn, head of talent development and communications at NUVIA UK, added: “We are excited to introduce this dynamic Returners programme, which supports our strategy to attract a diverse and inclusive talent pool to NUVIA and the nuclear sector.

“STEM Returners is more than just reintegrating talented professionals into the workforce – it’s about leveraging diverse experiences and perspectives to fuel innovation and growth.

“We are dedicated to removing barriers and offering a smooth transition for skilled individuals to restart their STEM careers, thereby enriching the industry with their unique expertise and fresh insights."

Since STEM Returners first launched in 2017, more than 500 candidates have joined programmes across the UK.


Born and raised in Berkshire, Dan fell into journalism after completing his bachelor’s degree in English at UCL.

Writing for The Business Magazine and local Biz News sites has given him the opportunity to chat with all manner of small business owners and share their success stories with a wider audience.

Outside of work, Dan enjoys live music, board games and quiz shows, and is making a slow but persistent effort to learn Spanish.

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