Who said that internships are only for students and recent graduates? These windows of opportunity for new people to get a foot in a company’s door are not a prerogative of the under 30s. An apprenticeship period to bulk up the CV and challenge yourself by undertaking a new profession: often it turns out to be the beginning of a successful career, a stepping stone towards a change of lifestyle or going back to work.
There are internships aimed at new graduates, for young people looking for their true vocation. And that’s indeed a good thing. But what about those who have decided to leave their career path and try out something new after working for years in other fields? On The Guardian newspaper this question has been answered by the founder of Women Returners, a British organisation that for years has been providing support and opportunities to women who had at some point of their lives quit their careers to raise the children or look after relatives. It helps them find new solutions and regain professional self-esteem, but it also offers internships for the over 40s.
Today the organisation already runs 21 re-integration schemes, with 12-week internships in companies from different sectors. After spending years away from the work environment, men and women – most of them already with top qualifications and former careers left in order to look after the family or the community in which they live – have found the courage to start all over again. And guess what, companies do look for them. Just like Goldman Sachs, that in 2008 minted the concept of ‘returnship’ with the objective of increasing the company’s human capital with people from different walks of life, aware of the fact that those who for years have been looking after the children or volunteering have a different approach towards work, because with the passing of time they have developed humbleness and patience, the ability to negotiate and tackle complex issues.
Women Returners explains on The Guardian how companies are appreciating these new placements: a great opportunity for large institutions, but also for all those people who, halfway through their life, have discovered that they can actually invent a new one.