SLR to help environmental professionals return to work after a career break

Post Date
07 November 2022
Read Time
3 minutes

SLR has formed a new partnership with STEM Returners to help environmental professionals return to the STEM industry after a career break.

The global environmental and advisory consultancy firm has launched a STEM Returners programme, offering roles including Acoustics & Vibration Consultant and Geologist. The roles include hybrid and flexible working patterns, and candidates can choose to work from various SLR office locations including Bristol, Nottingham, Exeter and Leeds in the UK, local to their team and home.

STEM Returners, based in Hampshire, will source candidates for the programme, which acts as a ‘returnship’, reintegrating experienced STEM professionals back into industry. Annual research from STEM Returners (the STEM Returners Index) has revealed the challenges people who have had a career break face, when trying to return – recruitment bias being the main barrier to entry.

Natalie Desty, Director of STEM Returners said: “We are very proud to be entering this new partnership with SLR to return highly skilled people back into the industry they love. There is a shortage of skills across STEM industries, and we know that people who have had a career break are faced with an uphill task of getting back into the profession. Only by partnering with industry leaders like SLR, 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.”

David Moorey, Head of People Team, Europe, at SLR, said: “At SLR we are committed to building a diverse and inclusive workforce in support of our ‘One Team’ culture. As our business continues to grow, our partnership with STEM Returners means we can help our growing client base solve more of their environmental challenges, whilst giving opportunities to people within our communities who are looking to get back to work after a career break. We’re passionate about the work we do and in making a difference to the world around us - supporting this project is a part of our commitment to positive change.”

Despite a clear need for people in engineering roles across the UK, professionals who have had a career break are often overlooked. In the recent STEM Returners’ annual survey - The STEM Returners Index – 66% of STEM professionals on a career break said they are finding the process of attempting to return to work either difficult or very difficult and that nearly half (46%) of participants said they felt bias because of a lack of recent experience.

The STEM Returners’ programme aims to eliminate barriers, by giving candidates real work experience and mentoring during their placement and helping them to seamlessly adjust to life back in work.

Whilst the scheme helps solve the problem of sourcing talent in sectors that need it, it also has the added benefit of increasing diversity in a host organisation. STEM Returners’ population of experienced professionals who are attempting to return to work are 46% female and 44% from ethnic minority groups, compared to 14% female and 9% from ethnic minority groups working in industry.

Successful candidates may be offered full-time positions at SLR upon the completion of their 12-week placement. Since STEM Returners launched in 2017, over 310 STEM Returner candidates have joined programmes across the UK. To view STEM Returners vacancies visit

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