Jacobs has unveiled an initiative to support people in Ireland to return to work after a career break.

The engineering firm is offering fully paid 12-week placements that enable candidates to refresh their skills and restart their careers.

STEM Returners, a privately owned company based in Hampshire, will source experienced professionals, including commercial and project managers, who want to return in roles in sectors such as advanced facilities, infrastructure, energy, transportation water and environment. There are vacancies at Jacobs’ Cork and Dublin offices and hybrid working is available.

Natalie Desty, STEM Returners founder and director.

“STEM Returners enables us to bring highly talented individuals back into the workplace, with strong technical skills and broader life experiences. This brings new diversity of thought and helps us create innovative solutions for our clients,” said Jacobs’ inclusion and diversity director Europe, Melissa Godfray.

“In February, we augmented our 40:40:20 gender balance commitment (40% men, 40% women and 20% open to any gender) to specifically include leadership positions. STEM Returners will help us increase diverse talent in mid-senior level positions and enhances Jacobs’ leading-edge approach to driving inclusion and diversity.” 

Ireland has an engineering skills shortage and out of the country’s 120,000 STEM workforce, a mere quarter are women.

Uphill battle

Natalie Desty, STEM Returners founder and director, said: “Many talented professionals face an uphill battle when trying to return with a gap on their CV. This new partnership with Jacobs in Ireland is specially designed to help them to resume their careers.”

Karen McCormack benefited from Jacobs and STEM Returners’ first partnership in the UK two years ago, when she was struggling to resume her engineering career after 12 years out following the birth of her baby.

“I would hear absolutely nothing back, not even a rejection, just nothing at all,” said McCormack. “To say it was disheartening is an understatement. But STEM Returners was my lifeline. The team were hugely supportive and helpful, and this human touch makes a difference.

“I have had the opportunity to take part in several training courses designed to reskill or upskill returners and the collective talent and wisdom of my peers has been on each occasion really inspiring.”