A project has been announced today by NCVO, offering over-50s a paid internship and a route into charity sector employment.
The organisation is supporting and hosting Charity Interns, which has been set up to explore new opportunities for people aged over 50 who have not previously worked in the sector.
It will begin in late 2023 or early 2024 with a pilot programme that will place up to six candidates aged over 50 on a six-month paid internship with a charity.
Alzheimer’s Society has been announced as the first of four internship partners, and will host interns taking part in the pilot. Charity Interns is seeking three further partner organisations to take part.
Recruitment specialist Charity People is also backing the project and has supported its development. It will also assist with recruitment of the interns for the pilot following the official launch of recruitment for the project in late June.
Charity Interns will operate independently but within NCVO’s governance structures.
An NCVO press release said: “Internships are generally seen as pathways for younger people to gain skills, enter work or retrain.
“However, older workers also need supported routes into our sector. Many people aged over 50 – particularly those currently or recently employed in the private or public sectors – have much-needed transferable skills and knowledge but can find it hard to access charity careers.”
It added: “They want to make a difference but don’t know how or where they can best do that. Internships can provide a much-needed experience of the voluntary sector and improve their chances of finding a permanent role that works for them and their charity employer.”
Maya Bhose, founder of Charity Interns and project lead, said: “In my fifties, after 25 years working in marketing and brand development, I knew that I wanted to work for a charity.
“But I really struggled to get on anyone’s radar because I didn’t have any charity experience – most job descriptions asked for that – and I didn’t have contacts in the voluntary sector.
“The main motivation behind Charity Interns is to stop the waste of talent that is happening across all sectors and to do something practical to make older people visible to employers, help them extend their careers and allow charities to benefit from their skills, knowledge and unique perspectives.”
Sarah Vibert, chief executive of NCVO, said: “The voluntary sector needs to explore innovative ways to solve its recruitment and skill challenges, while also working to create a more inclusive and diverse workforce.
“We can only benefit from exploring new routes to roles in our sector and tapping into this under-utilised talent pool.”
Charity Interns will formally launch on 29 June with a livestreamed event and the opening of internship applications for the six-month pilot programme.