By Ian McConnell

Business Editor

GLASGOW-based ScottishPower has opened applications for a “returner” employment programme aimed at people who have lost a job in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) field amid the coronavirus pandemic or taken a career break.

It flagged an "urgent skills shortage" in the UK's STEM sector.

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Inviting applications, ScottishPower declared: “In the wake of the pandemic, the STEM sector continues to face a growing skills shortage which threatens the potential of the UK economy to achieve a green economic recovery and to meet key targets such as net zero carbon emissions.”

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The utility, owned by Iberdrola of Spain, said it was providing opportunities for people “to rejoin the industry through a year-long paid placement”.

It highlighted the fact that many previous participants in the programme had progressed to permanent roles in ScottishPower and elsewhere in the STEM sector.

The energy company said: “As part of ScottishPower’s long-term commitment to diversity and inclusion, the programme helps STEM industry returners to refresh and rebuild confidence in their existing skills and knowledge while helping them to return to a working environment after a career break.”

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Mairi Elder, social projects and sector education manager at ScottishPower, said: “There is an urgent skills shortage in the UK STEM sector.

“As we navigate through the energy transition, the returner programme allows us to bring STEM talent back into the workplace and address that gap. The programme helps applicants to gain valuable experience across a broad range of critical projects at ScottishPower.”

ScottishPower said: "This year’s intake could expect to work on flagship projects that support a green economic recovery from Covid-19 as part of UK efforts to achieve net zero."