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Returning to STEM
Returning to STEM

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5.1 Foot in the door

A great way to get started on the journey back to work is volunteering or working in a non-STEM role within a STEM organisation, which can give you access to hidden job opportunities.

Shirley is a computer programmer who took a five year career break following a lengthy career in the IT industry. Her experience of returning illustrates the importance of getting ‘a foot in the door’, a way in to employment, which in this case was the chance to be interviewed for another job that had not originally been advertised.

When I went for the interview they then realised that, although I was a trainee Java developer, I did have twenty years worth of other experience in IT, and as it turned out the company also supported a lot of mainframe systems and all of my previous experience had been on mainframe systems. So I just think it was, yes, the course was very significant in that it just gave me the confidence to apply for that particular job and it just turned out that my experience fitted very well to the company.

Week 2 of this course includes a section on volunteering, which can be a useful way to get a foot in the door, and returnships (special internships designed for returners from career breaks). Returnships are an exciting new way-in for returners; this is discussed further in Week 8.