What is returnship? – benefits, programs (2023) UK and companies

Stepping back into the workplace after taking a career break can be a pretty daunting prospect for a parent, so the rise of what is returnship, it’s benefits and companies that offer the programs are being seen as a huge step forward in the drive for equality.

Many people in this situation, can struggle to land a corporate role if they’ve spent many years out the working world. Barriers to people trying to get back into the workforce can range from a lack of flexibility by the employer, and difficulties associated with the cost of childcare. But struggles can also come from a lack of confidence, having outdated skills, and generally feeling a bit ‘rusty’.

So, exactly what is returnship and how can it help people to get back into the workplace? Well, in this article we will explore these questions in detail, discovering the benefits of returnships and finding out what companies offer returnships.

What is a returnship program?

OK, so you’ve heard the term, but exactly what does returnship mean? Well, it is effectively a short-term, return-to-work program for people who have been out of the workplace for a period of time, generally a number of years. It’s like an internship, which gives support and assistance to adults wanting to get back to work, but who perhaps lack the latest skills or confidence to step straight into the type of job they might have previously held.

Returnships can last anywhere from a couple of weeks, to a few months, with payment depending on experience. The programs often give training and mentoring, to build the person’s skills and confidence, provide good experience for their CV, give them a taste of corporate life, and bring them up to speed with any changes to the working world in the period they’ve been away.

The good news is that returnship programs are getting more and more prevalent, and if you search the internet for “programmes to help me return to work after a career break” or simply “program to help me return to work after break”, you will find information of career reentry programs like returnships, and you can even apply to get onto a program.

What are the benefits of returnships?

Unsurprisingly there are many benefits of returnships, not least because they enable you to familiarise yourself with your career without having to start back in a more junior role.

Let’s look in more detail at some of the benefits of returnships:

Getting to grips with the latest tech

The pace of technological change is staggering, and anyone who has been out of the workplace for a length of time may find that their lack of technological know-how is a barrier to employment. So, one of the great benefits of returnships is having the opportunity to get familiar with the latest technology being used in the workplace, and learn how to use it. Proven experience of using up-to-date technology is often required by employers, so having the chance to get skilled up on it is hugely beneficial.

Learning new skills

Another of the benefits of returnships is the opportunity to get your skills up to date, and gain experience of developing and advancing your expertise to meet the demands of today’s workplace. Roles may have transformed since you were last working, and the programs can give you the chance to learn and gain experience of new ways of working, while adding strings to your bow which may be very attractive to a future employer.

Mentor support and professional connections

Many career reentry programmes offer mentoring support, to assist with your career progression and answer any questions you might have. And, the added benefits of returnships include the opportunity to develop professional relationships and connections with fellow employees and leaders within the company. This ‘network’ can really be beneficial in helping you find suitable, full-time employment once your program ends.

Trying new things

Another of the key benefits is having the opportunity to start afresh and try out new roles. Depending on how long you’ve been out of the workforce, things may have changed significantly, the job you used to do may no longer exist, there may be new roles which pique your interest, and your lifestyle and personal goals may well have changed since you were last working. So, a returnship can be a great opportunity to try something completely new, like a new industry or new field, without needing to commit to a full-time, permanent job.

Helping you move into a permanent position

Having the opportunity to try out your skills in a particular business, field of work or industry is another of the benefits of returnships, allowing you to see if you like it there and want to stay, while allowing the organisation to see if you fit their culture and are able to manage the work. Sometimes, businesses try out a number of people in a program, and then take on the individual who best fits the organisation.

Returnships offer people the opportunity to really get stuck in, and ask for more responsibility if they feel capable, gaining even more experience. Feedback from supervisors help you further learn and develop, will give you skills and expertise to include in your CV, and enable you to gain references and a letter of recommendation to help in your job search.

What companies offer returnships?

You might be surprised at the number of companies with returnship programs in 2022 and 2023. This is because more and more companies are finding that it allows them to attract a wider talent pool, and boost their diversity.

Here are the details of just a few companies with returnship programs in the UK and globally:


Amazon provides a 16-week, paid returnship program for in-person and remote workers. The program provides training, mentoring and the opportunity to get involved in planning projects. The participants also enjoy benefits and can apply for permanent employment at the end of the program.


Microsoft’s returnship program also lasts 16 weeks and is designed for people with basic technical training. Their program consists of a combination of classroom learning alongside project work, working on real products in actual teams.

JP Morgan

The returnship program at JP Morgan includes 15-weeks of paid work experience, with the opportunity of a permanent job on completion of the program. The placements run according to the needs of the business, candidate skills and areas of interest within the organisation.


Aviva’s returnship program offers six months of paid work experience across a number of different specialisms and geographic locations. Aviva offers employees the chance of securing a permanent role upon completion.


The returnship program at Meta lasts six months and runs across a number of different departments and specialisms. Participants benefit from training and mentorship, and are assigned to a manager, responsible for assisting them in navigating the Meta universe. Work involves addressing real-world challenges, and successful participants will be considered for a permanent role.

Nowadays, there are so many companies with returnship programs in the UK, as a simple online search will reveal. We are delighted that the corporate world is recognising the importance of these programs, and the role they play in giving people the opportunity, guidance and support to get back into the workplace and progress their career.

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