Coinciding with this week’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science the Minister for Women and Equalities, Kemi Badenoch, has launched a new initiative to help people back into science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) based careers.
The scheme – backed by £150,000 of Government funding – will be run by Women Returners and STEM Returners and will target those who have taken lengthy career breaks to care for others, giving them the skills they need to succeed in the workplace.
Between 2009 and 2020 there was an almost 30% increase in girls starting STEM A-levels in England, and between 2011 and 2020, the number of women accepted to full-time STEM undergraduate courses increased by 50.1% in the UK. But in 2020 women only made up 29.4% of the STEM workforce in the UK.
According to the UK Commission’s Employer Skills Survey 2013, 43% of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) vacancies are hard to fill. But there were approximately 75,000 people who were economically inactive due to caring responsibilities, had not worked for at least 12 months, had a STEM occupation immediately before their career break, and would like to return to work in the future. The majority of these potential returners are women.
Women Returners, experts in return to work consulting, coaching and networking, will support parents and carers back into the workplace through personalised employability support, sector-specific refresh training, and work opportunities.
Minister for Women, Maria Caulfield MP, said: “STEM jobs make up a large proportion of our economy, but there is a shortage in STEM employees and 75,000 STEM returners who want to get back to work. We know there are women across the country who have left their jobs to care for elderly relatives or children, and want to return to work.
“This pilot will help organisations to recruit those who are too often overlooked because of a gap on their CV.”