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Paid charity internships project announced for over 50s

Melanie May | 25 May 2023 | News

A middle aged man and woman talk in a meeting room. By the Coach Space on Pexels

The Charity Interns project will explore new routes into voluntary sector employment for people aged over 50 who may not have experience in the sector.

An initial Charity Interns pilot programme will run between late 2023 and early 2024, with up to six candidates aged over 50 placed on a six-month paid internship with a charity.

Charity Interns was founded by Maya Bhose, who is also the project lead. It will be incubated by NCVO, operating independently but within NCVO’s governance structures. The project will also be supported by a number of partner organisations.

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It aims to help address the sector’s recruitment challenges and skills shortages by tapping into a wider and potentially overlooked talent pool. The project will also support inclusion in the voluntary sector and counter negative stereotypes around older workers, acknowledging that older workers as well as younger people need supported routes into the sector.

Maya Bhose, founder of Charity Interns and project lead, commented:

“In my 50s, 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. I soon realised my story of how hard it can be to switch into the voluntary sector was far from unique.

 

“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.”

Alzheimer’s Society has been announced as the first of four internship partners, and will host interns taking part in the pilot programme later this year. Charity Interns is actively seeking three further partner organisations to take part.

Sarah Vibert, Chief Executive of NCVO, said:

“I’m really delighted that we are hosting the Charity Interns project at NCVO. 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 of professionals.

 

“We hope that by hosting the project through incubation at NCVO we can learn from its work, share insights with our members and support the sector by finding ways to help tackle our shared recruitment and skills challenges.”

Recruitment specialists Charity People are also backing the project, supporting its development, and helping to recruit interns for the pilot following the official recruitment launch in late June.

Nick Billingham, Managing Director at Charity People, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to partner on this initiative that will have an incredible impact for the individuals involved and could potentially facilitate a change in attitudes and perception across the whole sector. Recruitment remains a challenge for many organisations so creative and inclusive programmes like this will be critical in addressing this.”

Charity Interns will formally launch on 29 June 2023 with a live streamed event. Internship applications for the six-month pilot programme will also open on this date. More information is available on the Charity Interns website or by emailing ma**@ch************.com.

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