Business is stepping up to help young people build their skills

Over 21,000 young people across South and West Wales are building their skills ahead of entering the world of work, with support from more than 400 volunteers from Barclays.

Through LifeSkills, Barclays’ free-to-access, curriculum-linked programme which Business in the Community (BITC) Cymru is helping to deliver in Wales – thousands of young people are having the opportunity to develop their interview skills, personal communication and money management skills; helping them take the first steps in their careers.

Skills make a difference

This milestone for the LifeSkills programme in Wales comes at a time when, across the UK, 80% of young people require “significant training” before moving into work, up from an already high watermark of 75% in the previous survey year (according to the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants).

Finance professionals responding to the survey specifically highlighted “people skills” as an area of weakness – a skill which is a specific focus of the LifeSkills programme. Reported poor skill levels not only impact on the health of talent pipelines, but was also affecting company performance. 90% of those surveyed said their workload had increased, 66% said levels of stress had increased and 44% reported that overall performance levels have dropped.

Commenting, Matt Appleby (Director, Business in the Community Cymru) said:

“Engaging with the skills agenda, working with young people, building a healthy pool of future talent – who may well be your future employees and customers – is key to being a successful and sustainable business. Responsible companies like Barclays see the benefits of engaging with the education agenda; through mutually beneficial partnerships with schools and with the delivery of programmes like LifeSkills.

“The team – with the support of hundreds of volunteers from Barclays branches – is making a huge difference to the lives of young people, but also addressing the skills challenges we face as a nation. There is a clear role for business to play and I’m delighted that companies like Barclays are stepping up to the plate. I’m proud that BITC Cymru’s contract to deliver LifeSkills in Wales has been renewed and we are thoroughly looking forward to meeting – and passing – the next milestone for the programme.”

Next phase of the programme

BITC Cymru began delivering the LifeSkills workshops in Wales in September 2014, originally on a two-year contract. Now, building on the scope and reach of the delivery to date, the contract has been extended to August 2019 by which time the team is aiming to have provided workshops for over 30,000 more young people. This next phase of the contract will focus on increasing the engagement with young people in schools and broaden the delivery out to colleges whilst still providing stimulating and engaging sessions on the skills that young people need and business wants to see.

Kirstie Mackey (Director of Citizenship, Consumer Affairs & LifeSkills, Barclays) added:

“Launched in 2013, LifeSkills equips young people with the skills they need to move forward into the 21st century workplace. Delivered through educators, or direct online, the programme helps to develop skills such as CV writing, interview skills, networking, problem solving, creativity, communication and managing online reputation.

“Working with partners such as BITC Cymru, we also ensure that LifeSkills is reaching those young people who need it most.  We must ensure that we are doing as much as possible to help young people transition into the world of work. LifeSkills works so well because it’s a call for business, young people and education providers to work together to find the solution.”

Business in the Community Cymru is the in-school (and college) delivery partner for LifeSkills created with Barclays in Wales. To find out more about LifeSkills in Wales, please contact Natalie Roberts or visit this section of our website.