A NEW scheme is under way in Lancashire to get former engineers back into the industry through work with defence and security giant BAE Systems.

The STEM Returners programme offers engineers a 12-week paid placement and for the first time will be run at BAE Systems’ air division in Warton, with a focus on electrical, design and aeronautical engineering, among other roles.

After the previous programmes STEM Returners have run with BAE, 96 per cent of participants were offered permanent positions within the company.

Natalie Desty, director of STEM Returners, said: “There are lots of initiatives to cater to the next generation of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) workers but the STEM Returners programme is aimed specifically at those wishing to go back to engineering mid-career.”

The programme also aims to reduce the gender gap in the sector, with only one-in-10 engineering posts held by women.

Almost half the returners across all STEM Returners’ programmes are women.

The Women in Engineering Society has estimated that up to 20,000 qualified female engineers could potentially fill job vacancies after career breaks.

Debbie Kempton, principal engineer and head of long-term talent for Air Sector Engineering said: “We’re very excited to extend the STEM Returners programme into the Air Sector.”

“This is a fantastic opportunity to bring in qualified people who not only have technical skills, but also have other life experiences."