After a successful pilot programme in 2021, STEM Returners will provide the new programme at the Ørsted site in Victoria, London, where the successful candidates will help on Ørsted projects, assessing geophysical and geoscientific data from offshore wind farm sites and export cable routes on projects from around the world. They will receive coaching and mentoring opportunities to assist with the reintegration into back into the industry.
With the country’s drive to increase the use of renewable energy, there are concerns that a green energy skills gap of around 200,000 workers is emerging that must be addressed if the UK is to deliver on long term energy security and meet its energy transition targets. *
Natalie Desty, Director of STEM Returners, said: “The number of green energy roles is growing across the sector and there is a hidden workforce that can help fill those roles but are often overlooked.
“People who have a had a career break face an uphill battle to return to the industry – there is a misconception that a gap on you CV leads to a deterioration of skills but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Many returners keep themselves updated with the developments from their industry and have developed transferable skills that can benefit their employers.
“We are very proud to be continuing our partnership with Ørsted to provide an inclusive platform to bring professionals back to the industry and bridge the skills gap. Only by partnering with industry leaders like Ørsted, 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.”
The first STEM Returners programme with Ørsted saw Geologist Katie Ireland return to the sector after a five-year career break. She made the difficult decision to leave her previous job to focus on raising her children but as they began to get older, she wanted to return to the role she loved. But unfortunately, this was not an easy process.
Instead of recognising that Katie’s time out had made her a more rounded geoscientist, the career break penalty meant she faced rejection when trying to re-enter the industry.
Katie explained: “My five-year career break had a major impact on how I viewed myself and ultimately my confidence. My confidence was at an all-time low, my memory and ability to retain information was poor and this didn’t come across well. It was hard to explain to others and so difficult for them to empathise.
“I came across the STEM Returners role with Ørsted and thought the term “STEM Returner” perfectly described what I was trying to do.”
Since completing the returner programme, Katie has been involved in a number of successful projects for Ørsted including leading the ground modelling on several Taiwanese wind farm sites. She won the Engineering Returner of the Year category at the Engineering Talent Awards 2022, supported by Royal Academy of Engineering.
Katie added: “The opportunity (at Ørsted) has changed my career in so many ways. Not only has it allowed me to return to work after a career break, but it gave me the chance to transition from oil and gas to the renewables sector. This has grown my confidence in applying my previous experience as well as allowing me to develop new wind energy specific skillsets. I am amazed at the progress I have made after taking part in the programme and am now looking forward to developing my technical skills further while helping others make the same journey. I am very excited to see that Ørsted are offering new opportunities for industry Returners and can’t wait to see how their professional careers flourish again.”
Simon Copp, Head of People and Development at Ørsted UK, said: “We’re excited announce our next programme with STEM Returners. The programme is a great way to encourage people who have the knowledge and skills to return to the sector and celebrate not only their industry expertise but the soft skills they have developed. All our career journeys are different, and at Ørsted we celebrate diversity and the positives that brings.”
To register your interest in the programme, you can complete a returner registration form