Barclays launches apprenticeship scheme for over-24s

Barclays Bank has become the first company in the UK to officially hire people over the age of 24 as apprentices, with the financial organisation attempting to combat the UK’s skills shortage with its Bolder apprenticeship scheme.

Unlocking talent

Barclays has a long history of supporting school leavers. Launched in April 2012, Barclays’ apprenticeship programme started out with only eight apprentices in Personal Banking and has since grown the programme across every business unit in the UK and also internationally recruiting its 2,000th apprentice at the end of 2014.

Mike Thompson, director of Apprenticeships at Barclays, has made clear that his firm intends to continue to plug the skills shortage that is harming the UK’s productivity.

‘‘It has been widely reported that that we are facing a chronic skills shortage in the UK. The Government has suggested that based on current employer plans we will need to fill 13.5 million job vacancies in the next ten years, but only seven million young people will leave school and college in that time.’’

‘‘We have to address this, we have to find alternatives and we have to provide opportunities to unlock the talent that is being underutilised across all age brackets.’’

Over-24’s

Barclays aims to move forward with its programme, helping those who finished school a number of years ago but are currently unemployed.

‘‘Once out of work, older workers face a much tougher task to find the opportunities to get back into full employment again. We believe that age or social circumstances shouldn’t be a barrier or deciding factor in finding a viable route to employment. Reskilling can be achieved at any age.’’

The Bolder apprenticeship programme intends to help older workers find a new career within the problematic job market, as well as creating ‘‘a conversation with other businesses to increase collaboration, regardless of sector or industry, to address how we can maximise the valuable contribution older workers make.’’

The programme aims to help over 24’s, with no upper age limit being set. Included in the initiative is:

  • Ten days of full time, classroom-based training focused on basic employability skills. Modules include: Preparing for the workplace, employability skills and business skills, literacy and numeracy support, customer service, digital awareness, confidence and core skills.
  • One week work placement with Barclays; including coaching and further learning support.
  • Apprenticeships offered to successful candidates on completion of training
  • Successful apprentices will work within Barclays on a 12 month Level 2 apprenticeship programme.
  • Next steps will be the same criteria as younger apprentices, offering a permanent role or career pathway for successful apprentices.

The programme has been met with praise from government officials, including Baroness Altmann, minister for Pensions.

‘‘Having a diverse workforce – including an age diverse workforce – enables a business to reflect its customer base; to better understand and better serve its whole range of clients. I am delighted that Barclays has recognised this and is actively seeking to recruit people of all ages.’’

‘‘As we can look forward to living longer, we need to re-think what ‘old’ looks like – the traditional stereotypes of people over 50 no longer apply. It is never too late to learn new skills, take on new challenges and live life to the full.’’