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Businesses, schools and Government join forces to remove barriers to youth employment as Barclays launches LifeSkill


Barclays launches LifeSkills, an education programme and work experience matching service that aims to reach one million young people by 2015

50,000 work experience opportunities to be offered in 2013 working with employers such as Barclays, Waitrose, Centrica and ISS, as well as Government backed careers platform, plotr

LifeSkills Ambassadors Karren Brady, Jameela Jamil, Colin Jackson and Thea Green issue Let’s Go to Work call to inspire business, schools, young people and the Government to work together

Barclays is today calling on business, schools and government to work together to remove the barriers young people face in moving from school to work with a launch of a major new programme LifeSkills. This 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.

The programme will give teachers access to 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.

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 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%* 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 Matt 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**, six in 10 (61%) of those aged 14-25 predict it will be harder to get a job on leaving school in the next six months than today. Three quarters (72%) don’t believe they will achieve their career ambitions, whilst nearly a third of young people (28%) believe they don’t have the necessary connections to succeed.

SME research*** reveals businesses want to support young people on their journey from school but are held back by lack of access to students with basic work skills. Over three quarters (77%) of decision makers said they would be more likely to take a work placement if the young person had employability training, rising to 81% of those in companies with 250-500 employees. A similar number (76%) also said they would want to be part of a scheme which matched them to a school.

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 30 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 provides 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.”

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 inspire people to get involved, businesswoman Karren Brady, TV and radio presenter Jameela Jamil and sports personality Colin Jackson have been recruited to call on business, schools, government and young people through the Let’s Go to Work initiative, to help transform the opportunities available. All are passionate about supporting young people to achieve their potential.

To find out more and register for information go to

Notes to Editors:

*In February 2011, YouGov surveyed 985 young British adults on behalf of the Education and Employers Taskforce, aged 19 to 24 and resident in England, Scotland or Wales to explore their current circumstances and their experiences of school-mediated employer contacts.

**Research undertaken 12 - 25 February 2013 amongst 2,000 14-25 year olds. Research conducted by Watermelon Research.

***Research undertaken in January 2013 amongst 254 UK business decision makers working in companies with 5-500 employees. Research conducted by Opinion Matters.

About LifeSkills, created with Barclays

LifeSkills, created with Barclays, is an education programme that aims by 2015 to equip one million young people aged 11-19 with the skills they need for work and connect young people to work experience opportunities at Barclays and beyond. LifeSkills builds on the success of the Barclays Money Skills programme and the Barclays Apprenticeship Programme, which this March, to coincide with National Apprenticeship Week, will be expanded to create thousands of additional Apprenticeships for those not in education, employment or training with Barclays business partners across the UK.

LifeSkills provides 11-19 year olds with access to resources in three key modules:

Work Skills including interview skills, CV writing and information on choosing a career.
People Skills including interpersonal skills, self-confidence, communication, self-awareness and personal presentation skills.
Money Skills providing financial know-how which included managing a budget, calculating percentages and understanding on how lending works.

The resources will be delivered in school by teachers, in branch at sessions organised by Barclays employees or accessed directly by young people at Those schools who take part can access non-branded lesson plans and resources. Barclays is also offering the support of 38,000 volunteers over the three years who are available to come into schools to help deliver these lessons.

Once a student completes the LifeSkills modules, schools will be able to unlock the work experience matching portal. This will allow teachers to match pupils to local work experience opportunities from Barclays and like-minded businesses.

LifeSkills forms part of Barclays long-term commitment to improving the skills of the next generation to help them achieve a secure and successful future, alongside the already successful Barclays Money Skills and Apprenticeship Programmes.

For further information about LifeSkills visit

About plotr

plotr ( is a new, not-for-profit, on-line careers platform created by a consortium of major employers, including Centrica, McDonald’s, Waitrose and Serco. plotr provides a free-to-use one-stop-shop for young people’s career inspiration and preparation needs from age 11 through to their mid-twenties, connecting them to the best information, guidance and opportunities out there, including work experience. plotr connects industry directly to young people through an intelligent, multi-media platform that responds to their user profile, enabling employers and professional bodies to illustrate the great careers available and provide the latest advice on how to succeed through a scalable but personalised channel. plotr is supported by government and works closely with closely with the Cabinet Office, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Work and Pensions. It now has a growing group of around 30 brands on board and the site went live at the end of 2012.

About Barclays

Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in personal banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking and wealth and investment management with an extensive international presence in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia.

With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs approximately 140,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.
For further information about Barclays, please visit our website


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