Would a returnship help you back into the workplace?

Returning to workOften people feel overwhelmed and worried about returning to the workforce after a long period of absence.

Women who’ve taken time off to bring-up their children, or care for a loved one, can often be anxious about getting back to the workplace.

A new programme for returnees, ‘returnships’, has been introduced. The scheme is similar to what an intern may expect upon graduation. The programme gives prospective professional employees a paid insight into an organisation, plus an idea of  how they can juggle their work life balance and how their skillset relates to the modern workplace. Jaime Johnson, Director of award-winning employee engagement and employee research provider, The Survey Initiative, offers her advice on whether returnships are right for you.

  • If you’re anxious about returning to work, concerned that your skillset looks prehistoric, or worried that you just may not fit in, a returnship is ideal to help you step back into work and grow your confidence.
  • Check out what companies are offering returnships and consider whether they’re right for you. Leading investment banking firm, Goldman Sachs, was one of the first corporates to offer such a scheme –  however, it only hired 1.9% of the people on the programme! On the other hand, 98% of attendees on Ford’s returnship scheme were employed, so make sure you do your homework.
  • Returnships should offer mentored support to help returnees settle into an organisation. Mentors are ideal for understanding an individual’s needs, identifying where training may be required, or offering additional support to boost a returnee’s skillset or self-belief.
  • Returners to the workplace often lose heart if they feel that their CV is being turned over for someone younger. Many apply for positions they are too highly-skilled for in the hope of getting back into the workplace. Signing up to a returnship this gives you a great foot in the door to impress a prospective employer, and even if the position isn’t quite right, the experience will look great on your CV.
  • Research has also shown that introducing returnships into the workplace it is starting to change the biases of hirers. By running these programmes, recruitment managers are becoming more open-minded about taking on people who have had a long career break.
  • Brexit will no doubt shake-up the workplace and with employee and skills shortages in certain sectors, this could be a very good time to get back into the workplace.
  • Stay at home mothers often undertake training courses whilst they have been out of the workplace – perhaps you’ve joined the Open University and are hoping for a change in career? Again, returnships can offer an opportunity to discover if a career change may be right for you, and if you have the skills and experience to suit.
  • If you’re looking to get back into the workplace, network with all your old contacts. Many will be excited for you that you’re keen to relaunch your career and can often help find positions within their own organisation.
  • Check out online the various networking sites for Women Returner programmes. This will give you links for latest opportunities, the chance to network with women in a similar situation and discover more about whether a returnship is right for you.

To discover more about employee research, visit www.surveyinitiative.co.uk.

Jaime JohnsonAbout the author

Jaime Johnson founded The Survey Initiative in 2006 following a career in employee research. She heads up the data analysis team and is dedicated to creating employee research solutions that deliver real results.

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