Barclays has launched a new apprenticeship specifically aimed at those over 24 and as old as 65 called ‘Bolder Apprenticeships.’
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This scheme is targeted at people who are returning to work or starting a new career taking up apprenticeships, working in business areas such as contact centres, community banking and fraud offices.
Mike Thompson, Director of Apprenticeships at Barclays commented on the importance of creating opportunities for older apprentices, he said: “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.”
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The scheme programme launched in April 2012, with just eight apprentices in Personal Banking and has now grown across every business sector within the UK – recruiting its 2,000th apprentice at the end of last year.
It has a pre-apprenticeship element to help prepare, support and select individuals through tailored training, run and funded by Barclays. This includes 10 days of full time, classroom-based training focused on basic employability skills and a one week work placement with the bank accompanied by coaching and further learning support.
Apprenticeships are then offered to successful candidates on completion of training. Successful apprentices will work within Barclays on a 12 month Level 2 apprenticeship programme. Adults with no more than 1 A-Level (or equivalent) or less than a Level 2 qualification.
Those who have been out of work for over 12 months or “underemployed” (less than 16 hours per week) can apply.
Recent statistics show that seven in 10 apprenticeships in London go to those already in employment. While 44 per cent of places go to over-25s rather than youngsters. However, Thompson said it was tougher for older workers to find opportunities to re-enter full time employment.
“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.
“Barclays has launched the Bolder Apprenticeship programme to demonstrate our commitment to creating career opportunities regardless of age. From today, we want to start 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.”
Increasing the skills of the UK workforce is important to sustainable growth. This is why the government has committed to create 3 million apprenticeships over the next 5 years. Apprenticeships will also be given equal legal treatment as degrees and be recognised as a career path equal to higher education.
The main aim of the Barclays’ scheme is to engage with unemployed communities by making the Banking and Financial Services more accessible to everyone.
Baroness Altmann, Minister for Pensions, Baroness Altmann added: “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.”