Businesses join forces with Barclays to remove barriers to youth employment

Working with Ambassadors Karren Brady, Jameela Jamil, Colin Jackson and Thea Green the curriculum linked education programme aims by 2015 to equip one million young people with the skills they need for work and connect them with work experience opportunities.

From April teachers will be able to access a range of free resources designed to develop the skills employers most seek in young people covering topics such as writing a CV, managing money, and building self-confidence. After completing the modules in class or online, teachers can then match students to local work experience opportunities.

During 2013 LifeSkills aim is to make 50,000 work experience opportunities available. Barclays will provide at least 6,000 opportunities and is encouraging businesses of all sizes across the UK to get involved. Waitrose, Centrica, ISS and McDonald’s will be working together with Barclays on LifeSkills to help unlock work experience opportunities for 14-16 year olds.

Barclays is also working in partnership with plotr, a new industry-led and government backed careers platform, which will extend the reach of the Lifeskills programme through their partners and tie it in with other employability resources. Young people who complete the LifeSkills modules will be able to access work experience opportunities from the many businesses who are part of the plotr community, who in turn will benefit from a pool of candidates who have completed basic work skills learning.

Latest research from the Education and Employers Taskforce reveals the difference that being work-ready makes, with young people who have skills training – such as CV writing or work experience – earning on average up to 18 per cent more than those without. LifeSkills created with Barclays, will provide access to these skills, increasing their employability and earning potential. Barclays is investing £5 million into the programme in 2013, and will be providing further commitment over the coming two years.

LifeSkills launched with a roundtable led by Antony Jenkins, Barclays Group Chief Executive, and attended by Matthew Hancock MP, Skills Minister and Will Hutton, Chair of the Big Innovation Centre, along with representatives from the Confederation of British Industry, Federation of Small Businesses, plotr, Business In The Community, The Association of Teachers and Lecturers and leading businesses. This group will form an advisory committee for LifeSkills ensuring that expertise and best practise is shared to deliver lasting change.

The initiative has been developed to address the barriers young people and businesses identified around moving from school to work. According to the Barclays Youth Barometer, 61 per cent of those aged 14-25 predict it will be harder to get a job on leaving school in the next six months than today.

However, a sad statistic is that almost three quarters don’t believe they will achieve their career ambitions, whilst nearly a third of young people believe they don’t have the necessary connections to succeed.

Antony Jenkins, Barclays Group Chief Executive said: “We face a major challenge in supporting our young people to make the transition from education into the world of work. This challenge has never been greater for modern western economies like the UK, where the employment landscape is radically different and much more competitive compared to thirty years ago. The opportunities we provide now to our young people for them to shape and realise their aspirations will have a profound impact on our economy and society.

“This is why we are launching LifeSkills in collaboration with business, government and education providers, to transform the opportunities open to young people. The first step of this journey is helping them to make the transition from school to the workplace, which LifeSkills has been specifically created to address. It will provide free resources to schools and has also been designed to reach those not in education or training via sessions held in Barclays branches or access to the modules online. We, along with other businesses across the UK, aim to provide opportunities to learn from an employer through 50,000 work experience roles. We believe this approach, delivered through partnership, will achieve the lasting change our society requires.”

Skills Minister, Matthew Hancock MP said: “Employers consistently say that they are concerned that young people often lack the right skills when they apply for a job so it is great that Barclays have taken the initiative with their LifeSkills programme.

“Many young people, including those who are currently not in education, employment or training, are highly motivated by work, or the prospect of it. Later this year the Government will roll out our new Traineeship programme which will give young people the helping hand they need to compete for apprenticeships and good jobs.”

LifeSkills created with Barclays, will build on the successful Barclays Apprenticeship Programme which has already recruited 600 young people, with a major expansion to be announced next week. Together, these elements demonstrate Barclays commitment to supporting young people from education to employment.

To find out more and register for information go to