What you need to know about Returnships

Even thought about offering a returnship?

No, we don’t mean internships. Returnships are a real thing with it being reported that 23 companies, including 02, Virgin Media, PWC and Highways England, offered them last year.

Returnships target those professionals who have climbed up the career ladder and achieved mid or senior positions, but then have taken an extended break to concentrate on other things, for example to have and look after their children, move abroad or care for dependants.

The challenge these individuals face if they wish to return to work is it’s not very easy to just pick up where they left off. Employers may be put off when they see a 10 or 15 year gap in a prospective employee’s CV and professionals may feel anxious about reincorporating themselves back into the world of work. Clients have changed. Technology has advanced. The market is different. Businesses are trying to work smarter and more efficiently.

First introduced by Goldman Sachs back in 2008 in the US, returnships have slowly developed and found a place in the UK. Generally these paid programmes last a few weeks or months. The programme combines a system of training, mentoring and coaching and is generally offered to those who have been outside the world of work for over two years. The programmes focus on refreshing the individual’s knowledge, bringing their skills up to date, getting them up to speed with technology and enhancing their confidence in the workplace. All of this is with a view to them obtaining a permanent role.

Of course, employers do need to put in time and resource in order to train and mentor these individuals, but returnships also enable employers to make the most of the talent of highly-skilled workers, who can offer a fresh perspective.

The government has also put its support behind the initiative and pledged £5 million for returnships. It forms part of the its strategy to address the gender pay gap, which has come to the fore with the recent introduction of the gender pay reporting regulations and the BBC pay scandal.

Prime Minister, Theresa May, commented: “More often than not, it is women who give up their careers to devote themselves to motherhood, only to find the route back into employment closed off — the doors shut to them. This isn’t right, it isn’t fair, and it doesn’t make economic sense”.

What are your thoughts? Are returnships the way forward? Can they help bring these highly talented individuals back into the fold?

Director of Legal Services

James Tamm

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