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We’re not ageist at Springfords. It’s not funny, it’s not legal, and it doesn’t make good business sense either. We value talent, whether it’s freshly wrapped or wrapped in wrinkles. When it comes to your accounting affairs, fresh thinking and experience count in equally large measures.
All of which may be the impetus behind the growing trend in the workplace for midlife internships, where an increasing number of forty, fifty and sixty-something professionals are eschewing the tradition for dropping out to take up arts, crafts and a younger partner; and instead are returning to the start of their career journey in a different way. Yes, that’s right, a cohort of silver-haired, self-assured professionals are opting for a more supported and structured path to re-careering themselves: the midlife internship.
Midlife could be freelance and fun if you keep your options open, but the idea of a formal late-life career reset is relatively new. The Guardian recently reported on the concept of the midlife internship as introduced by Goldman Sachs in 2008 in America. The newspaper reported that it was as recently as 2014 when an organisation called Women Returners began helping female professionals find ways back into the workplace after extended breaks. Now, all the genders are in on the act.
Less formally, the whole idea has been around for a while. In the film The Intern, Robert De Niro’s character (Ben Whittaker) had his reasons for waiting until his seventies before embarking on a new career (we’ll not spoil the plot). You don’t have to. They say you’re never too old to learn, but we’d say you’re never too young either.
The prospect of making the tea and stapling the daily reports may sound like the popular impression of internship. These days however, companies running mature internships generally have more worthwhile programmes than that - and photocopiers that automatically collate and staple too.
Internship is proving more appealing among the growing army of experienced professionals. Their experience is valued, and they get to play a part in modern industry - with less stress too, probably. It might not be as glamorous as De Niro’s experience but, as in the film, everybody lives happily ever after.