Barclays Bank plc - Grow with Barclays, the Youth Employment Strategy

The Jaguar Land Rover Inspiring Young Talent Award, Winner 2015, Reaccredited 2016.

Barclays' youth employability strategy provided many routes for progression, meaning that leadership roles, further qualifications and long-term careers are no longer out of reach.

What the judges thought

  • Even taking into account the size of the organisation, the scale of its commitment to its programmes was highly impressive.
  • This is a very focused and detailed approach to working with young people who are NEET (not in education employment or training).
  • Though run by a large organisation, the programmes had a very human element with excellent staff engagement.

Social and business impacts

  • The programme provided tools and guidance to young people, schools and businesses.
  • Over 8,000 LifeSkills volunteers reached 1.1 million young people.
  • The programme reached a diverse pool, especially including young people at risk of becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training) and those from deprived areas.
  • Retention of young talent improved dramatically, saving costs and improving customer satisfaction.
  • The programme resulted in a more diverse workforce.
  • Barclays won new business because of its focus on citizenship, and built a reputation for championing young people.

Barclays logo In brief

In 2012 fewer than 300 Barclays employees were under 21, despite high levels of youth unemployment. After reviewing its strategy, Barclays created an integrated youth employability approach comprised of an ambitious apprenticeship programme and LifeSkills, which gives young people in schools skills, high quality work experience and confidence.

More than 2,000 young people have gained permanent jobs with Barclays through the apprenticeship programme, putting long-term careers in banking within the grasp of a diverse new generation of talent.

A further one million young people across the UK have improved their employability skills through LifeSkills.

The story in detail

Barclays has achieved a staggering impact, not only on the NEET young people they have employed but through the ‘Lifeskills’ programme they have encouraged other organisations to play their part too, collectively reaching vast numbers of young people.

- Les Ratcliffe TD,
Head of Community Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility, Jaguar Land Rover, Chair of judges
Barclays’ Youth Employment Strategy focuses on preventing young people from becoming NEET (through the LifeSkills programme) and creating pathways for NEET young people (the Apprenticeship Programme and Traineeship).

Filling the gaps in Barclays' youth employability strategy

Youth unemployment is one of the biggest challenges in the UK, with many young people not in education, employment or training (NEET). Yet in 2012 Barclays had fewer than 300 employees under the age of 21, and employee turnover was 70% in some entry-level roles.

Barclays reviewed its youth employability strategy to find out where the gaps were, looking at its internal processes for ad hoc work experience and how it recruited 16–24 year olds. It then went on to create an integrated youth employability strategy with two strands. LifeSkills focuses on NEET prevention through work with schools, while the Apprenticeship Programme provides an accessible way into work for NEET young people.

Giving young people many routes to a job

LifeSkills is aimed at 11–19 year olds and aims to equip young people with the skills, experience and confidence to enter the world of work. It provides employability skills workshops in schools, curriculum-led content for teachers, and a consistent and high quality work experience programme either through taster days or a week in Barclays and other businesses.

The Apprenticeship Programme provides an accessible way into work for NEET young people. It includes Foundation Apprenticeships, for those with limited education and work experience, along with Higher Apprenticeships for high-potential apprentice graduates, internal colleagues, school-leavers and military service leavers.

Barclays also offers a Traineeship initiative to those with little or no experience, helping them to become work-ready through five weeks’ extensive training and a two-week work placement with Barclays before applying for a job.

The overall aim is to provide many routes for progression, meaning that leadership roles, further qualifications and long-term careers are no longer out of reach. To ingrain the initiatives in Barclay's culture, members of staff were given 14 hours a year to help up-skill students and apprentices were involved in the programme’s future development.

Over one million young people have now participated in LifeSkills, either through teachers, charity partners, workshops led by Barclays volunteers or independently via the LifeSkills website.

More than 5,000 young people have been involved with the Apprenticeship programme since April 2012, and over 2,000 of them gained permanent jobs with Barclays.

What Barclays' CEO said:

“LifeSkills has given over 13,000 colleagues an opportunity to make a difference to young talent. It enables teachers to tap into the support system and shape their thinking around early careers, collaborating with government, businesses and organisations to improve employability within schools.

Our own apprenticeship programme, from an original cohort of only eight in Personal and Corporate Banking, has grown to encompass every business unit in the UK and also internationally. As well as making a big difference to young people who wouldn't otherwise have the qualifications to get a job with us, this also makes real business sense as it gives Barclays access to a far more diverse talent pool.” - Antony Jenkins, CEO, Barclays Bank PLC

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