SLR Consulting launches second returners programme for STEM talent

19 June 2023 3 min. read
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SLR Consulting has launched a second programme aimed at encouraging professionals to return to the STEM sector after a career break. Last year, the global environmental and advisory consultancy firm also offered a STEM Returners programme at its sites in Bristol, Nottingham, Exeter and London.

SLR Consulting is a global sustainability consultancy with over 2,000 employees in more than 20 countries worldwide. The firm has been rapidly upscaling its capacity via acquisitions, in the last year, having received new backing from US-listed financial investor Ares Capital Management.

The firm is not only looking to boost its ranks by onboarding active professionals, though. With the launch of a programme to support environmental professionals back into the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) sector, SLR is aiming to offer an opportunity for former STEM staff to return to the fold in the coming months.

SLR Consulting launches second returners programme for STEM talent

In 2021, an IET report revealed the STEM sector had a shortfall of 173,000 workers. As it seeks to do its part to address this, SLR has now rolled out two programmes to help address the UK’s shortage of STEM professionals. After the successes of that initial intake, the re-launched returners drive now features four new roles, with opportunities across SLR’s geotechnical engineering and hydrology and hydrogeology teams.

Successful applicants will be enrolled in a 12-week, paid, STEM initiative, with SLR prioritising those who have had a career break, as the ‘returnship’ allows candidates to be reintegrated into an inclusive environment upon their return to STEM. Candidates are also provided with additional support including advice, career coaching, and mentoring; ensuring applicants are ready and confident to return to work.

SLR’s European Head of People Team David Moorey said, "We are pleased to be launching our second STEM Returners programme. We hope to build on the recent success of our initial programme and welcome more new colleagues, with skills and experience in STEM, back to the workplace. Together, we will help reshape the future of STEM and unlock the limitless potential for both professionals and industry alike."

One of the SLR returners from the firm’s first programme was Jack Bayliss. Over four years, he had worked in the mineral exploration industry, travelling the world for long periods of time, and often working in remote places. When the birth of his son changed his priorities, however, he started to look for a role at home – and unfortunately in an industry that has few opportunities in the UK.

After enrolling in SLR’s programme, however, his prospects have changed for the better. His returnship allowed him to transfer his expertise and skills to a new sector, and he has since been able to contribute to a range of projects; from offshore wind, to quarry development, and mineral extraction.

Speaking on what future candidates can expect, Bayliss explained, “The thought of having to ‘start over’ in a new industry is daunting. This programme gave me the opportunity to expand my skillset and diversify my knowledge in an area different to my previous experience, whilst appreciating the skills I can offer. Within the STEM industries, this is relatively uncommon. It has also given me the unique opportunity to make a positive difference and ‘make sustainability happen’, while accessing leading technology and learn from industry experts.”