EDF has launched a new returner programme across its Nuclear business to help candidates with a background in STEM return to work after a career break.

The new programme, held in partnership with STEM Returners, follows a successful scheme within EDF’s Renewables business last year.

EDF is leading the UK’s nuclear renaissance with construction underway of a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C in Somerset, with plans advancing for a new station, Sizewell C, in Suffolk. Together, Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C will provide low carbon electricity to meet 14% of UK demand, and power around 12 million homes.

The new programme will initially include roles at Hinkley Point C, with roles across other teams within the EDF Nuclear Family to follow. Initially 10 roles will be available and will include positions such as Business Architect, Cost Engineer, Project Quality Engineer, Document Controller and PMO Analyst.

STEM Returners, based in Hampshire, will source candidates for the programme, which acts as a ‘returnship’, supporting experienced engineers back into industry following a career break, allowing them to be re-integrated into an inclusive environment.

Annual research from STEM Returners (The STEM Returners Index) has revealed the challenges people face when trying to return to work, following a career break. Recruitment bias is shown to be the main barrier to entry.

Natalie Desty, Director of STEM Returners said:

“We are delighted to be continuing our partnership with EDF and helping more people return to industry after a career break. There is a well-known skills shortage in the UK engineering industry, but despite a clear need for people, professionals who have had a career break are often overlooked.  Only by partnering with industry leaders like EDF, will we make vital changes in STEM recruitment practices, to help those who are finding it challenging to return to the sector and bridge the skills gap while improving diversity and inclusion.”

Stuart Smith Murray, Issue Resolution Technical Manager, said:

“Hinkley Point C gives me that flexibility to plan my day, to plan my time. I can work in different locations, I can work at home sometimes, other times I might be in the office or in a different country. I have that freedom to do what I think is best for me, taking into account what also is needed by the project.”

Krupa Walji, Dedicated I&C Group Leader, added:

“We are setting the stone for net zero for United Kingdom. That’s what keeps me motivated. That what I do, as part of my work, has greater influence.”

The STEM Returners’ programme aims to eliminate barriers, by giving candidates real work experience and mentoring during their placement, as well as 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 attempting to return to work are 45% female and 39% from minority ethnic background compared to 12% female and 9% BME working in industry.

Successful candidates may be offered full-time positions at EDF upon the completion of their six-month fixed term contract. Since STEM Returners launched in 2017, more than 450 STEM Returner candidates have joined programmes across the UK. To view STEM Returners vacancies, visit https://www.stemreturners.com/placements/.


Notes to Editors

  1. People who have completed the STEM Returners programme are available for interview upon request.
  2. STEM Returners, returns highly qualified and experienced STEM professionals after a career break by working with employers who share the common objective of increasing diversity in STEM and creating a sector where everyone feels valued, supported and included. The STEM Returners project facilitates paid short-term employment placements for professionals returning to work after a career break. Alongside the experience gained from the work placement, the STEM Returners project will also provide support for the candidate in advice, career coaching, networking opportunities and mentoring.  All of the candidates going through the programme will also have the opportunity to restart their career in a permanent position at the end of the programme. This project is co-supported by the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology and the Women’s Engineering Society. STEM Returners was awarded the Maritime UK Diversity Award in 2020, the Diversity in Engineering Award by Enginuity in March 2021, and Best Returnship Programme by the Women in Tech Employer Awards in May 2022. In September 2021, Natalie Desty (Director) was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Engineering by Southampton Solent University to recognise her work in increasing diversity in STEM. STEM Returners is committed to uphold the Armed Forces Covenant and support the Armed Forces Community.