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Boeing and STEM Returners Collaborate to Launch ‘Return Flight’ Program for Re-Entry into UK Workforce

by Anna

A pioneering initiative aimed at facilitating a seamless return to the workforce for individuals who have taken career breaks has been unveiled in the UK. Boeing, the renowned aerospace leader, has joined forces with STEM Returners to introduce the ‘Return Flight’ program, targeting professionals in fields like engineering, operations, and quality. The program is designed to provide a supportive platform for these individuals to reintegrate into their respective sectors, offering a comprehensive blend of learning, development, and workplace transition to ensure their successful reentry.

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The ‘Return Flight’ program is underpinned by a commitment to bolster diversity and inclusion, a core focus for Boeing. Israil Bryan, Global Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Director for Boeing Global, emphasized the significance of this initiative, stating, “Through the Return Flight program, we aim to provide a supportive environment where participants can reintegrate into the workforce and receive targeted development to help unlock their full potential. We know that a diverse workforce is a more effective workforce, and we look forward to seeing the unique perspective participants bring to the company.”

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Key components of the program encompass a tailored onboarding process, comprehensive program orientation, foundational upskilling, personalized coaching sessions, and a robust focus on professional and leadership skills enhancement. Notably, each participant will be paired with a dedicated professional coach, mentor, and buddy, thereby ensuring sustained support throughout their journey back into the workforce, as well as facilitating their continuous professional growth.

The ‘Return Flight’ program extends its invitation to individuals who have taken a minimum continuous or combined career break of 18-24 months. Beyond the enriching 12-week program, successful participants gain the opportunity for full-time employment, marking a significant step forward in their professional journey.

The collaborative effort between Boeing and STEM Returners, a prominent player in the UK’s returner programs landscape, guarantees a comprehensive support structure for participants. In addition to candidate sourcing, STEM Returners extends supplementary assistance, encompassing advice, career coaching, and mentoring, to ensure that applicants are well-prepared and confident as they reenter the workforce.

The unveiling of the ‘Return Flight’ program aligns seamlessly with the insights offered by the annual STEM Returners Index research. This research has highlighted the obstacles faced by professionals seeking to return after a career hiatus, with recruitment bias emerging as a central barrier. The study found that a substantial 66% of STEM professionals on a career break found the process of reentering the workforce challenging, and 46% felt hampered by perceived bias due to a lack of recent experience.

Natalie Desty, Director of STEM Returners, underscored the transformative impact of initiatives like ‘Return Flight’ on the STEM recruitment landscape, stating, “There is a known shortage of skills across STEM industries in the UK, so to see a company like Boeing, a leading global aerospace company, launch the Return Flight program here and help this pool of skilled, dedicated, and talented professionals return to work is very positive. Through partnerships like this, we will 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 collaborative endeavor between Boeing and STEM Returners not only marks a significant stride toward inclusive workforce practices but also positions the UK as a trailblazer in fostering talent reintegration within the STEM sectors. As the ‘Return Flight’ program takes flight, it holds the promise of reinvigorating the professional trajectories of individuals who are poised to contribute their expertise to these vital industries once again.

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