If you are trying to get back into work after a career break or want to change your career for a more fulfilled working life, adult internships might be the right option for you.

Much like adult apprenticeships, there is an incorrect stereotype that internships are only for students and graduates starting in their careers. Internships are open to everybody and can be a perfect opportunity for those who want to change career or try something new.

Can an Adult Do an Internship?

Internships are short-term entry-level jobs that typically last around three months but can run for up to a year. Traditionally, young people complete an internship in their summer and other breaks from education to experience what a certain career will look like. However, adults and older workers can also start an internship to try out a new role, and more and more workers in the UK are deciding to change careers by starting an adult internship.

There is a rising trend of people in their thirties (or ‘millennials’ as they are often referred to) deciding to quit their current role to pursue a new career. According to a recent survey, there is an all-time high of job dissatisfaction amongst this age group, with 49% of millennials estimated to quit their job within the next two years.

‘Returnships’, internships aimed at helping people return to work after an extended break, are also available. Some companies offer these formally, wanting to help people get back onto the career ladder, showing commitment to a diverse workforce.

It’s important to note that you aren’t starting from scratch by doing an internship later in your career. Employers will be able to recognise all the experience you are bringing with you from other jobs and the transferable skills you have built up throughout your working life. People with experience bring with them maturity and professionalism that many young people looking for internships don’t yet have.

Benefits of Adult Internships

There are many benefits to doing an adult internship, also known as a “minternship”, meaning mid-career internship. If you are considering this route, here is why it may appeal to you:

Try Something New

Adult Internships are a great way to try out a new industry or role before committing to a permanent job. It can be hard to leave the familiarity and stability of a job you feel comfortable in, even if you aren’t happy, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider other options.

Internships are low-commitment and low-pressure roles, providing you with the opportunity to experience a new career for a short period of time. This enables you to make an informed choice on whether the sacrifices of a career change are worth it for you.

Enhance Your CV

Completing an adult internship can provide you with new skills that fill existing gaps in your CV. If you’ve embarked on a new career and need a different set of skills to take the next step, an adult internship could help you get there.

If you’re in a different role entirely, an adult internship could also provide you with enough experience and knowledge to make a career change.

Build Your Network

According to a recent survey, 85% of all jobs are filled through personal connections, therefore it has never been more important to grow your network. Adult internships can provide you with the chance to meet new people and make valuable connections to help kickstart your new career.

Networking can be a great way to stand out from the crowd and open the door to new opportunities.

Land a New Job

Whilst being offered a permanent position is never guaranteed, if you consistently perform at a high level and work hard to impress your manager, your internship could lead to a job offer at the end of it.

Even if it doesn’t, completing an adult internship will add valuable work experience to your CV and help you secure a position with another employer.

Other Things to Consider

The most significant disadvantage of adult internships is the low wage; in fact, many internships don’t offer any money at all. For the employer, it’s the chance to hire somebody who requires additional experience, so is usually willing to work for very little. While there are laws in place to stop employee exploitation, short-term unpaid internships are still prevalent in the workplace. This can be much more challenging as you get older due to financial commitments such as children or a mortgage.

Understandably, working for free isn’t an option for many people; however, if a partner or family member can support you, you may find that doing a mid-career internship has financial benefits in the long run as they can be a step into a new and potentially better-paid career.

How to Find and Apply for Adult Internships

Finding an adult internship can be challenging, but here is how you can get started:

Do Your Research

Many organisations post their internship opportunities online. Whilst many may look to be geared towards younger candidates, remember a person of any age can apply and be successful. Be sure to also check social media sites such as LinkedIn for internship opportunities and look at employer and networking groups.

Remember – your added experience, transferrable skills and knowledge built up over the years can put you ahead of other applicants, so be sure to highlight them in your application.

Contact Companies Directly

To find an adult internship, you may have better luck reaching out to companies that you wish to work for directly, particularly if they have limited positions currently available.

Speak to employers to see what they have on offer and don’t worry about being older than the other candidates. By taking on an internship later in life, you are showing your dedication and enthusiasm for a new career.

Add to your application by writing a cover letter that explains why you’re applying for the role, what skills or experience you can bring to the company, and what makes you stand out from other candidates.

Network, Network, Network

It can also be worth checking in with your college or university alumni to see if they can point you in the direction of companies offering internship opportunities. They will have links with local employers and insider knowledge of potential upcoming opportunities.

Taking advantage of your own network can be worthwhile. Using LinkedIn or Twitter to promote your desire for an adult internship may be rewarding and show your enthusiasm to potential organisations.

If you are interested in applying for an adult internship, check out our jobs board for career change opportunities available across the UK.