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If you have engineering experience and you’re keen to re-enter the workplace, we have exciting opportunities to join the Submarine Delivery Agency (SDA) in either Bristol or Barrow-in-Furness, on a one-year structured programme that will up-skill you to become a confident engineer. We’re offering support, mentoring and training to develop your skills and empower you to make a big impact for the Royal Navy, by ensuring their submarines are safe-to-operate with world leading capabilities.

Many skilled and experienced engineering professionals take career breaks to care for family members, to travel or study, or for health or other personal reasons. With our STEM Returners scheme, we’re dedicated to supporting you as you return to the workplace. Building on your previous experience, we will refresh your existing knowledge and provide you with the skills to ensure success in a permanent position with the SDA at the end of the scheme.

We would love to hear from applicants from a wide range of engineering specialisms. Our technical disciplines include: environmental, electrical and power, mechanical, naval architecture, nuclear, quality assurance, safety, science, sensors, software and cyber, systems, and weapons.

Who are we?

The SDA delivers the most complex manufactured objects in existence – nuclear submarines. With people, munitions, and a nuclear reactor all in close proximity on board these vessels, we need people with technical expertise and an unfaltering commitment to safety to ensure our success. Our organisation is growing extensively and, as a result, we’re looking for dedicated and enthusiastic engineers to join us to help safely deliver cutting edge technology to the Royal Navy.

Our projects span the whole of a submarine’s life-cycle, from concept and design through to build, in-service support and, finally, disposal. Projects of such great scale and complexity can last decades, slowing us to offer careers with exceptional job stability. We’re proud to offer great opportunities for training, development, and promotion, too. In fact, many of our senior engineers started with us as trainees and have developed their whole careers within the SDA.

We’ve learned from the COVID-19 experience that factors such as hybrid and flexible working are no barrier for collaboration, teamwork, and success. Through this programme, it’s our goal to make a fulfilling career accessible to all.

Job description for the SDA STEM Returners programme

We’ll work with you to identify your first placement in an area that’s best suited to your experience and strengths. You’ll then follow a tailored rotation of placements, to broaden your skill set and ensure you’re well positioned to successfully apply for a permanent role in your chosen area. The scheme consists of a 12-month contract in our Engineering team. You’ll receive technical training in your chosen discipline, in addition to training in submarines, safety and nuclear engineering. We’ll also provide more targeted training for your desired future role.

We recognise that you may have been away from the workplace for a while, so throughout the programme we’ll provide sessions to support confidence-building and ensuring effectiveness as you re-enter the world of work.

You will be supported by an experienced and dedicated mentor, who will help you identify where you would like to go at the end of the scheme and how you can get there.

We’ll also support applications to achieve professional registration with a professional engineering institute, and offer CV guidance and interview preparation to support you in applying for a permanent role with us at the end of the scheme.

At the end of the 12 months, you’ll have re-launched your STEM career as a permanent engineer in SDA. Your role will help protect the service personnel that defend the UK, by ensuring they have access to effective, safe-to-operate equipment. If you’re not quite ready to apply for a permanent role at that stage, you may have your contract extended for up to a further 11 months following a performance review.

We know everyone has different rates of development and confidence levels. That’s why we invite scheme members to apply for a permanent role as an engineer at any point during the programme, if you feel confident to do so.

Please note some attendance to the stated site may be required for this position.

We strongly recommend tailoring your CV in line with our CV guidance before applying, with specific sections to highlight Key Achievements, Relevant Experience, and Applied Skills & Knowledge.


You’ll receive training throughout the 12 months while supporting the Engineering team, with the chance to take on new responsibilities in line with your growing confidence in this specialism.

What you will be assessed against

To be successful with your application, you’ll need to show that you meet the following essential criteria:

• Been on a career break for 18 months or more
• Experience of providing technical advice and delivery of successful engineering outcomes
• Level 4 (HNC) or above qualification in an engineering discipline
• The ability to start with SDA from January 2023
• Due to the secure nature of our work these roles are available for sole UK nationals only

In addition to the responsibilities above, the following technical competencies and behaviours will be assessed at interview:

• Application of analytical techniques
• Technical requirements, evaluation and acceptance
• Making effective decisions
• Communicating and influencing

What’s in it for you?

Our careers offer stability, training, progression – and much more! Discover more about what we offer by viewing the SDA Benefits. Find out more about our pension schemes.

We’re exploring future ways of working with a flexible and a family-friendly approach in mind. This means that successful candidates may be offered the option of hybrid working, combining working at home with working at their contractual location. Further information relevant to hybrid working will be discussed with you prior to you taking up your post, to find a balance that suits your needs and those of the organisation. Please note that employees are responsible for meeting the cost of their travel to and from work when attending site.

We welcome applications from people of all backgrounds and are dedicated to creating a great place to work that reflects the diversity of the society we serve. To help us do this, we particularly encourage applications from women, ethnic minorities, disabled people and people from LGBT communities. By bringing together different ideas, experiences and perspectives, together we can achieve the extraordinary.

Please click the link below to apply for SDA STEM Returners Scheme – Engineers by creating an account and upload your details.

“What I love most about being an engineer is the variety, the challenge, and the people. In particular, there’s the satisfaction you get from working in a team to solve a problem you’ve not faced before, and in doing so you help people, contribute to society and help to change the world (even if it’s just a little bit at a time!).”

– Lucy, Naval Architect


Job Details

Job title

SDA STEM Returners Programme – Engineering


£32,500 – £35,000 per annum (plus benefits)

Contract type

Fixed Term

Business area


Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time, Job share, Part-time



Number of posts


Recruitment contact

Mark Day –


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