From barrack block to BT: Former soldier lands new job thanks to engineering talent programme

Former soldier Corey Taylor has built on the skills he first developed in the Army to begin a new career in engineering with BT

A former Army regimental signaller who served in Iraq and Kosovo is now enjoying a career as a BT power engineer, thanks to a scheme helping people with transferable skills return to work.

Corey Taylor, from Nuneaton, served in the military for six years specialising in radio and satellite communications and setting up communications during operational tours.

His work involved operational tours of Iraq and Kosovo but with a young family, Corey decided to leave the Army to spend more time with them. He initially began working in IT and then took a two year career break while studying electrical installation at college as a mature student.

But, despite gaining a recognised qualification, Corey struggled to find a suitable job. Thankfully, he found out about the STEM Returners programme – a scheme that works with employers to recruit, develop and retain qualified and skilled people who are looking to re-start their careers or transfer their skills to another sector.

Applications for the next intake are now open until 26 April. For more information visit www.stemretuners.com

Corey, 41, has now secured a job as a BT engineer, helping maintain the company’s power network.

He said: “I really enjoyed my time in the Army and served all over the world. My role setting up the hubs enabled troops on the ground to communicate with each other. It was difficult work but my training made it easier to get the job done.

“The STEM Returners programme gave me the opportunity to showcase my skills and experiences by getting me a foot in the door of BT. After attending an informal open day, I was invited to join the programme - a paid internship to learn the job and hone my recently acquired qualifications in a practical environment. At the end of the programme I was delighted to accept a permanent position as a Power Engineer at my local BT site.”

Corey’s role at Telecom Centre, Coventry, includes maintaining the engines that generate their own electricity and power BT’s exchanges in case of emergency.

He added: “No day is the same and I'm constantly learning new things and completing new training.”

Pete Buckle, BT engineering services director, said he hoped Corey’s success would encourage more people to consider a career in engineering through the programme.

He said: “I’m delighted to have Corey working with us. It’s incredibly important to have an inclusive and diverse workforce - it adds a different set of skills and perspectives.

“We need to make STEM subjects and engineering more attractive to everyone, that will allow us to choose from a diverse and representative range of applicants.”

The STEM returners programme is open to anyone with electrical engineering or power planning skills who has taken a career break or would like to transfer to a different sector but lack the relevant work experience.

BT is also one of the largest employers of former armed forces veterans and reservists in the UK. The company’s support for the armed forces includes another programme called Transition Force, which helps service leavers and veterans find the right civilian career.


Stem Returners

STEM returners is a programme open to anyone with electrical engineering or power planning skills who has taken a career break, or would like to transfer to a different sector but lack the relevant work experience.

Once on the programme, participants join a paid 12-week structured return to work, which will include soft skills training, technical training and on the job experience, as well as coaching and mentoring support.

At the end of the 12 weeks, job offers will be made to those who have shown the necessary skills and aptitude to join the engineering specialists.