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The ECITB is partnering with STEM Returners and the Global Underwater Hub (GUH) to pilot a new cross-sector programme aimed at supporting returners back to the workforce.

STEM Returners help employers recruit, develop, and retain the best available talent, enabling highly qualified and experienced STEM professionals to re-start their career or transfer their skills. This is a tailored programme of support enabling employers to access experienced talent whilst improving their diversity & inclusion.

Operating within an incredibly tight skills market, the programme allows employers to attract candidates from a new talent pool. It gives candidates a supported route back to a rewarding career, providing employers with talented professionals and helping them to view CV gaps in a different way.

As part of this pilot which will be open to employers across the underwater sector[1], the ECITB will provide funding for 10 returners to encourage in-scope employers across the underwater sector to take part in, and benefit from, the programme. The usual cost to an employer, per returner, is £3,500+VAT.

The ECITB will provide funding for up to 2 returners per employer dependent on the number of returners an employer agrees to support. Funding will be accessed through the usual MSP grant funding mechanism. This funding stream is not linked to your annual grant entitlement.

The programme will begin its employer/candidate matching process in January-February 2024, so interested employers are invited to register their interest with the ECITB by 29th December 2023.

As part of programme, employers must commit to offering selected candidates a paid 12-week work placement which has the potential to lead to a permanent role. Alongside the experience gained from the work placement, STEM Returners will also provide support for the candidate in advice, career coaching, networking opportunities and mentoring.

Supporting this programme will benefit employers in the following ways:

If you are interested in taking part in this exciting new pilot, please come along to our online awareness sessions on Tuesday 17th October 2023, and Thursday 30th November 2023. For more information, and to register for an awareness session, please contact your Account Manager or Michelle Taylor, Careers & Inclusion Manager, at

[1] Employers can be undertaking projects in any offshore domain including  oil and gas, offshore wind, CCUS, hydrogen, tidal/wave provided there is an underwater/subsea element.

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