Transferring to the charity sector

A pilot programme to help people in midlife transfer skills gained in the commercial sector to the charity world is celebrating success and looking for more recruits.


Mills Leney had been working in advertising and broadcast media for over 20 years and wanted to branch out into the charity sector.

She didn’t have any charity experience, however, and had tried but lost out to others with that experience in the past. She was also keen to rebuild her confidence after a short career break.

That’s where a new scheme – The Well Placed – came in. Set up by Maya Bhose, it promotes six-month internships with charities for midlife workers who are seeking to get a foot in the door of the charitable sector and bring all their previous knowledge and experience to bear.

Mills [pictured right] got a post as a communications intern within the Volunteering Team at Age UK. It was mostly a remote working role with opportunities to go into the office and visit Age UK locations around the UK. She says she felt part of the small team from day one and that the placement worked in a very reciprocal fashion. She states: “Whilst I was learning about how to operate within a complex, structured organisation and how departments inter-related, the volunteering team benefited from my commercial skills, creating cross departmental communications and a highlight was re-writing the volunteering customer journey on the Age UK website.”

Despite not getting a permanent post after the pilot, Mills says the experience has done wonders for her confidence. “I know I am very capable, but sometimes I need reminding,” she says. It has also given her some charity experience and feels she now has more chances of job success through the knowledge gained via her placement and her increased confidence.

Charanjit Kaur Osahn, Volunteering Development Manager at Age UK, said Mills surpassed the charity’s expectations. She says: “By leveraging her professional skills, she has shown the immense value that commercial sector skills and experience can bring to our initiatives. Her initiative and enthusiasm have unlocked opportunities for growth.”

The revamp of the Age UK volunteering page, for instance, led to a notable increase in public engagement. She said Age UK had benefited a great deal in being a part of the pilot.

Pilot programme evaluation

An impact report on the pilot shows its effectiveness. Before the pilot had concluded, four of the six associates who took part had secured roles in charities and have tangible examples of their impact of their commercial skills in a charity setting. Their confidence, like Mills’, has been boosted and they have a better understanding of the charity sector and what hiring managers are looking for. They also feel able to explain how their skills are transferable and for those who did not secure permanent posts, they felt able to apply for roles they considered unattainable before the pilot.

The programme, previously called Charity Interns, has just relaunched as The Well Placed and is now a community interest company. It is looking for new recruits, particularly those with transferable marketing skills eager to contribute to marketing or fundraising initiatives.  Applications are open until July 12th. Interviews are scheduled for September, with placements starting in November.

The programme offers a six-month placement with a UK charity, with interns getting at least the living wage and receiving training on the charity landscape and culture along with leadership skills training for line managers. During the programme, interns get monthly peer-to-peer learning sessions and benefit from ongoing mentoring support.

*Read about how Maya Bhose set up the programme here.

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your Franchise Selection

Click the button below to register your interest with all the franchises in your selection

Request FREE Information Now

Your Franchise Selection

This franchise opportunity has been added to your franchise selection



Click the button below to register your interest with all the franchises in your selection

Request FREE Information Now

You may be interested in these similar franchises