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Oxfordshire’s Reaction Engines partners with STEM Returners

8 December 2022
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Reaction Engines has partnered with STEM Returners to help engineer return to the industry after a career break.

A new avenue has opened for engineers looking to return to work following a career break, after Oxfordshire-based aerospace manufacturer Reaction Engines announced a new partnership with STEM Returners.

The partnership will see Hampshire-based STEM Returners sourcing candidates for Reaction Engines and providing them with support in the form of mentoring and careers coaching services.

The new scheme, launching at Reaction Engine’s Culham Science Centre base in Abingdon, is aimed specifically at engineers looking to go back into the industry following a career break.

In The STEM Returners INDEX, an annual survey carried out by the organisation, 66 per cent of professionals on a career break said they are finding the process of attempting to return to work either difficult or very difficult – nearly half (46 per cent) reported feeling bias because of a lack of recent experience.

By giving these candidates real work experience and mentoring, STEM Returners helps to break down these barriers, with the added benefit of increasing diversity in a host organisation. While 14 per cent of those working in the industry are female and 9 per cent are from ethnic minority groups, STEM Returners’ population are 46% female and 44% from ethnic minority groups.

Natalie Desty, Director of STEM Returners said: “We are delighted to be launching this new returner scheme with Reaction Engines to support highly skilled people back into the industry they love. There is a known shortage of skills across STEM industries, and we know that people who have had a career break are faced with an uphill task of getting back into the profession.

“Only by partnering with industry leaders, like Reaction Engines, will we make vital changes in STEM recruitment practices, helping those who find it challenging to return to the sector and improve diversity and inclusion.”

Read more - Berkshire's AWE partners with STEM Returners

Natalie established STEM Returners in 2017, after recognising the difficulty facing STEM professionals trying to get back into work. STEM Returners works with companies to facilitate returnships, which allow candidates to be re-integrated into an inclusive environment upon their return to the industry.

Lisa Rudzki, Head of HR at Reaction Engines said: “At Reaction Engines we are proud of our open and inclusive culture and are delighted to be embracing a new programme with STEM Returners to attract and welcome new talent and skills. Discovering individuals with vital STEM experience is an important part of our vision towards an even more diverse and engaged workforce across all areas of the business.

“We have great opportunities with flexible working options to help achieve the perfect balance between work and home life, and to ensure a smooth transition back to the workplace”.

Mike Whitehead, Engineering Director added: “Reaction Engines has been at the forefront of engineering innovation for over 30 years, and we are proud of our people and the creative and inclusive environment that has enabled this success.

“We are delighted to be working with STEM Returners and welcome their innovative and fresh approach to recruitment. This partnership will further strengthen our engineering team by helping us connect with experienced and diverse talent”.

Read more - University of Southampton team beat 950 teams to win Bloomberg Global Trading Challenge

Featured image credit: STEM Returners


Sam is the Regional Editor of Biz News, responsible for both Hampshire and Dorset.

A new recruit to journalism, Sam started writing for the Business Magazine as a freelancer in May of 2022 after completing his degree in English at University College London. His passion for local businesses and ability to tell a story soon caught the attention of the publication’s management team and have led to his meteoric rise.

Sam, who lives in central Reading, takes a particular interest in technology, gaming and food and drink, having been a chef before starting his degree.

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