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Barclays: A Finalist in Aviva’s Ageing Workforce Award

Category: Industry News, Employer Focus

a design made from various items of stationary and the text 'The Aviva Award for Championing an Ageing Workforce'. The Awards 2017 partners are at the bottom of the page, with the Business in the Community Logo.

To make the most of apprenticesBarclays opens its door for everyone including the older-generation. 

  • Barclays older apprentices’ ratio has increased from 4% to 20% 
  • More than £million has been saved by the company in recruitment costs 
  • Now, the company’s USP is its one-size-fits-all apprenticeships 

On recognising that unemployment is not only a youth issue, 50% of Barclays’ apprenticeship demands in 2017 are likely to come from older-generation talent.  

The image that is invariably associated with apprentices is that of bushy-tailed, bright-eyed individuals who are in their late teens or early 20s. Many businesses have also made use of part or full government funding for apprentices between the ages of 16 and 24, with youth unemployment as a societal backdrop.  

Barclays introduced its apprenticeship scheme in 2012 in order to tackle the extreme shortage of young talent in its business. However, during the early recruitment stages when the company had to turn away individuals over 24 years of age who were applying for the apprenticeships, it became clear to them that the youth is not the only demographic suffering from the adversities of unemployment. The bank realised that the older workforce also faced a difficult task in finding lucrative chances to get back into employment again.  

Barclays Opened its Apprenticeship Doors to All in 2015 

The bank’s apprenticeship doors were opened to all in 2015, including its first grandmother apprentice. The cohort consisting of just 5 candidates in northwest London quickly grew into seventy Bolder Apprentices, these are apprentices who join the bank with no more than one A-level or less than a Level 2 qualification, after being underemployed or out of work.  

The programme begins with ten days of full-time classroom-based training, which lay emphasis on primary employability skills like, digital awareness, customer service, core skills and confidence. This is followed by a 1-week work placement of coaching, along with further learning support.  

Shaun Meekins, the Head of Operations for early careers at the bank, said that their biggest challenge is perception, especially because when someone looks up ‘apprenticeships’ in Google search, the results majorly illustrate the main target as 16 to 18-year old’s. The older-generation candidate group, such as carers, parents returning to work, forced retirees and those who have been made redundant are not always considered for apprenticeships because society has labelled the programme for a younger community.  

However, the demand for Bolder Apprenticeships is now taking over traditional apprenticeships. Barclays hopes to see a minimum of fifty per cent of apprentice demands coming from the older- generation talent in 2017.  

To gain access to the older-generation, the bank has built relationships with enterprises, such as Prime Candidates, Age UK and Remploy.  

Barclays Advocates Diversity in the Workplace 

The bank realises that increasing diversity in the workplace is the need of the house. They know that the success of their business is intertwined with the strength of a diverse and wide economy. Since the launch of the Bolder ProgrammeBarclays older employee ratio has improved from 4% to 20% and with it, they bring a new level of deep customer empathy, range of transferable skills and a high level of inner confidence. Line managers at the bank have observed that the varied life experiences of the Bolder Apprentices, equips them to provide great and effective services to the customers.  

The Bank Encourages Inclusivity 

According to Meekins, the company’s customers are highly delighted by its USP of one-size-fits-all apprenticeships. The company is devoted in conveying the message that apprenticeships are all-inclusive, regardless of background, age or qualification.  

Thanks to the impressive retention rate across all the company’s apprenticeship programmes, they have saved a lot of recruitment costs, approximately £2 million. They have managed to reduce the cost of advertising for entry-level roles and expensive contractor fees.  

Meekins said that the efforts of Barclays is positively affecting the statistics of unemployment. Young apprentices are getting a foot in the door whilst the older apprentices are getting a second opportunity to flourish in a supportive environment 

Vercida works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with Vercida to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please call 02037405973 or email [email protected] for more information. 

We are also officially recommended by Disability Confident as a step on achieving Employer status, pleaseclick herefor more information. 

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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