Further reading and specialist resources for women returners to STEM
There are now a considerable number of sources of information to help STEM returners. In particular, there are professional institutions, employer institutions and federations, government (mainly local) organisations and specialist interest groups.
is a not for profit organisation dedicated to the achievement of increased gender balance in the UK STEM workforce. WISE works from classroom to boardroom to inspire more girls and women to choose STEM careers and to support employers in creating a working environment in which women can thrive and do their best work. Individual membership of WISE is free and WISE counts some of the country’s largest STEM employers amongst its corporate and institutional members.
For professional scientists interested in returning to an academic or similar research-orientated career the Wellcome Trust has a helpful returners’ guide – ‘Getting back into research after a career break’. This guide has been put together for people who, after a substantial break, are thinking about making the step back into research in biomedical or public health areas, although the advice given here should be broad enough to apply to other fields in science and medicine.
The Daphne Jackson Trust provides funded two year fellowships for returners to STEM research. Further details of how to apply can be found at their website.
Some professional bodies also provide specialist resources for career break returners.
- The London Mathematical Society women’s section offers career guidance and support for women.
- The Institute of Physics has a guide for members planning a career break and negotiating work life balance on their return.
- The Royal Society of Chemistry has a Women Members Network and also runs an internship programme which particularly targets returners. You can also find ideas about careers and future job profiles.
For engineers, the Women’s Engineering Society provides peer support for women engineers of any discipline. WES has a section on career break returners.
There are 30+ professional engineering bodies at the Engineering Council site. Many of these are concerned with the national shortage of engineering skills and keen to recruit and retain women engineers.
For those women with a particular interest in manufacturing, EEF helps Women in Manufacturing to support, attract and retain women across the UK manufacturing sector.
The BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, for those returning to the IT industry. Also, techUK is developing a specific returners programme.
There are a number of recruitment agencies that specialise in STEM recruitment, especially in the engineering and technology sectors. Some of the larger firms such as Hays and Harvey Nash run networking events for women. One agency that is general in its scope is STEM Graduates.