What is a returnship?

Returnships are higher-level internships which act as a bridge back to senior roles for experienced professionals who have taken an extended career break. They are professionally-paid short-term employment contracts, typically of 3-6 months, with a strong possibility of an ongoing role at the end of the programme. Participants take on commercially significant work based on their skills, interests and prior experience, obtaining a supported route back to a professional role.

The employer gains from:

In a best practice model, coaching/training and mentoring support is provided to the returner, both at the induction phase and during the programme. Returnships are used by a returner to update skills, knowledge and experience in their previous sector/role or possibly to transition into a new sector. 

Read more about the business case for returnship programmes

UK returnship development

We are proud to have led the growth and development of returnships and other returner programmes since 2014, across sector and across the UK. We have partnered with many leading organisations such as EY, Tideway, Man Group, Skanska, Macquarie Bank and O2 to develop and run successful programmes. Programmes have grown in number rapidly: from 3 in 2014, to 9 in 2015 and 23 in 2016 (source: Women Returners research).

See here for a list of 2014-17 UK returnship programmes 

Returnship success

There is strong evidence of success in the UK, with the majority of participants taken on into ongoing mid to senior level roles at the end of the programmes run to date. Contact us if you would like to find out more details and case study information. 

Read how we can support you if you are an organisation interested in developing your own returnship programme



The term ‘Returnship’ is trademarked by Goldman Sachs

The majority of participants are women, however UK programmes are also open to men offering similar opportunities to stay-at-home fathers/carers.