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Free course

Returning to STEM

Free statement of participation on completion
Returning to STEM
Returning to STEM

Welcome to the free badged course, Returning to STEM. This course is here to help you get back to work in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics. The course is intended for anyone who wants to get back into STEM work after having a break, whether to care for family, because of redundancy or for other reasons.

Watch the following video in which Dr Sue Black OBE introduces the course.


There are case study videos placed throughout the course to show you how other people have navigated their own unconventional careers. Importantly, you will hear about how they have got back to STEM employment after a career break.

Enrolling on the course will give you the opportunity to earn an Open University digital badge. Badges are not accredited by The Open University but they're a great way to demonstrate your interest in the subject and commitment to your career, and to provide evidence of continuing professional development.

Once you are signed in, you can manage your digital badges online from My OpenLearn. In addition, you can download and print your OpenLearn statement of participation – which also displays your Open University badge.

This course is accredited by the CPD Standards Office. It can be used to provide evidence of continuing professional development and on successful completion of the course you will be awarded 24 CPD points. Evidence of your CPD achievement is provided on the free Statement of Participation awarded on completion.

Anyone wishing to provide evidence of their enrolment on this course is able to do so by sharing their Activity Record on their OpenLearn Profile, which is available before completion of the course and earning of the Statement of Participation.

The Open University would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to tell us about yourself and your expectations for the course before you begin, in our optional start-of-course survey. Once you complete the course we would also value your feedback and suggestions for future improvement, in our optional end-of-course survey. Participation will be completely confidential and we will not pass on your details to others.

This course is supported and recommended by STEM Returners, a programme that helps to facilitate a start in or return to STEM careers.

Returning to STEM

Earn this free Open University digital badge if you complete this course! The badge can be displayed, shared and downloaded as a marker of your achievement. The badge is awarded for completing the course and passing the quizzes.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • identify key experiences and attributes, and know how to use online tools effectively to be visible
  • identify long-term goals and create an action plan and CV to achieve these
  • know about future trends in STEM employment and where to find STEM jobs online
  • identify mentors and networks that can help with returning to work
  • understand work–life balance solutions and know more about different types of flexible and agile working.

First Published: 24/02/2016

Updated: 09/01/2020

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