Navantia Australia helps engineers return to work following career breaks

9TH OCTOBER 2023 | STEMRETURNERS, 20 November 2023

Navantia Australia, the country’s shipbuilding partner, has formed a new partnership with STEM Returners Australia to help engineers return to the STEM industry after a career break.

People who have had a career break face an uphill battle when trying to return to work, with a range of challenges from lack of self-confidence to recruiter bias against people with a gap on their CV.

STEM Returners Australia will provide its proven returner program to Navantia Australia at their Melbourne Naval Design and Engineering Centre, where opportunities include Senior Electrical Engineers, Senior Combat Engineers and System Integration Engineers.

STEM Returners Australia will source candidates for the program, which acts as a ‘returnship’, allowing people to be re-integrated into an inclusive environment upon their return to STEM careers. Candidates will receive real work experience and mentoring during their placement and helping them to seamlessly adjust to life back in work.

Marcail Roe, Director of STEM Returners Australia, said: “Through our exciting partnership with Navantia Australia we’re proud to offer three talented Returners the opportunity to reignite their engineering careers.  This collaboration symbolises our commitment to fostering innovation and diversity in the STEM workforce, ensuring a brighter future for all.”

Navantia’s ships represent 1110,000 tonnes, or over 60% of the Australian Surface Fleet.  Navantia Australia combines the best of breed Asset Management Capabilities with product design knowledge and efficient access to the supply chain.

James Cowie, Chief Human Resources Officer at Navantia Australia, said: “Navantia Australia has a diverse workforce of 280 Australian Citizens originating from 45 different countries and we have been increasing our female participation each year, so we are proud to partner with STEM Returners Australia to enhance both our capability and valued diversity.”

Annual research from STEM Returners UK (The STEM Returners Index) shows the challenges people who have had career break face, when trying to return – recruitment bias being the main barrier to entry. More than half (51%) of STEM professionals on a career break said they were finding the process of attempting to return to work either difficult or very difficult and that nearly half (38%) of participants said they felt bias because of a lack of recent experience.

STEM Returners Australia is working with a number of leading organisations to eliminate this career break penalty.

Whilst the scheme helps solve the challenge of sourcing talent in sectors that need it, it also has the added benefit of increasing diversity in a host organisation. STEM Returners Australia’s population of experienced professionals who are attempting to return to work are 68% female and 72% from ethnic minority groups, compared to 14% female and 9% from ethnic minority groups working in industry.

Since STEM Returners Australia launched in 2020, just over 40 STEM Returner candidates have joined programs across Australia. To view STEM Returners Australia programs, visit