The 40-Year-Old Intern? Training Programs For Middle-Aged Workers Take Off

March 4, 2015  |  

Interns are usually your bushy-tailed, fresh-out-of-college, 20-something gofers. But Wall Street is changing that. This time around, especially in the finance sectors, we’re seeing more interns with slivers of gray hair, MarketWatch reports.

Take Barclays for example. The British bank recently announced its plans to recruit “mature workers” for its new internship program in the UK for the latter half of 2015.

So what’s the purpose of these mature apprenticeships? The bank simply wants to offer older job hunters the same opportunities the bank provides to approximately 2,000 16-to-24-year-old applicants who apply for the internship program each year.

“We see real benefit in employing a workforce that reflects the diversity of our customer base,” said Mike Thompson, head of apprenticeships at Barclays. “For example, those who have had previous careers and greater life experience can have empathy and are able to really understand and support our customers.”

The main difference between midlife-aimed apprenticeships and internships for millennials is the former is created to retrain older workers.”They are designed for those who have been out of the workforce for at least two years and want to return to the fields where they have prior experience,” MarketWatch added.

Other banks that have jumped on the mature apprenticeship bandwagon are Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, Credit Suisse, MetLife, and Morgan Stanley.

The concept of training older employees is even spreading to technology and law sectors. Zillow, an online resource that provides stats on home values, also launched an internship program for computer science employees in Seattle. The OnRamp Fellowship program, for instance, selects female attorneys to work in year-long posts at 15 law firms in 24 cities.

Older interns get a sweet deal, too. According to Carol Fishman Cohen, CEO of iRelaunch, a company that reconnects employees to the workforce after a respite, noted that OnRamp grants its interns a salary of $125,000 a year — plus benefits.

MarketWatch calls these midlife internships a win-win: “Rather than worry that recruiters will throw away a résumé with a career gap, those who have taken career breaks can now access programs designed specifically for them.”

If you’re find difficulties getting back on the grind after a career hiatus, Cohen has some advice for you.”Suggest that the company consider an internship, which will allow [the hiring manager] to evaluate you based on your work before having to make a hiring decision,” she said.

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