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Second phase of STEM return-to-work programme launched

Image: Adobe Stock / BartPhoto

A government-funded programme to support people back into STEM careers has entered into its second phase.

The STEM ReCharge programme, which is being delivered by Women Returners and STEM Returners, was launched earlier this year to provide career coaching and technical refresh sessions to people in the Midlands and North of England who want to return to the tech industry following a career break.

STEM ReCharge tackles barriers into work with a programme of coaching, training and mentoring as well as providing connections with employers. The project is also training local employers to be more inclusive of returners in their recruitment practices.

Supported by the Minister for Women Maria Caulfield and backed by Minister for Women and Equalities Kemi Badenoch, the return-to-work programme is funded by the government’s Equality Hub.

The first STEM ReCharge cohort supported 42 participants, who completed the programme in June and July. Insight from the first group of participants is being used to inform the second phase of the programme, which will start in October.

Participant Priyanka Bondre took part in the first cohort and said of her experience, “It has been wonderful to be a part of the STEM ReCharge programme. The programme gave me a confidence boost to resume my professional journey. I am enrolled in a Data Engineer bootcamp and thrilled to reskill and re-enter the workforce.”

Minister for Women, Maria Caulfield MP, said, “I’d like to encourage more parents and carers to take advantage of this brilliant programme, which has already seen such success. We know there is a shortage in STEM employees and 75,000 STEM returners who want to get back to work.

“Matching candidates with a wealth of skills and qualifications with employers who need experienced people is a win for business, equality, and the economy. That’s why we are investing in returners.”

As part of the programme, local tech employers have delivered update sessions on a variety of tech and engineering topics. Fatima Nixon from Sage, one of the companies that have taken part in the programme, said: “Digital literacy is key to the UK remaining a global tech hub and access to support must remain at the heart of efforts to increase our country’s tech skills. The post-pandemic world of work has seen both women and carers leave the sector at an alarming rate. If we are to have a diverse and innovative tech industry, we must create paths for them to return to work, which is why we are proud to support STEM ReCharge, which is helping to create sustainable routes into tech careers.”

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