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Barclays LifeSkills launches new strategy as the bank teams up with charity partners to tackle UK social inequality

  • On its 10-year anniversary, Barclays LifeSkills is launching a new strategy to support underserved communities and tackle socio-economic inclusion
  • New research from Barclays LifeSkills shows that 1 in 71 of the UK’s unemployed cite social inequality as a barrier to finding work
  • Group CEO, C.S. Venkatakrishnan, announces new charity partnership agreements, including Family Action, The Talent Foundry and Street League

A survey of unemployed jobseekers has shown that social inequality is a key driver of unemployment, with 1 in 71 saying social inequalities are a barrier to finding work. With social mobility at its worst in over 50 years3, underrepresented people of all ages are at increased risk of being left behind and there is a clear need for investment in socio-economic inclusion.

Barclays LifeSkills is responding to this problem by launching a new strategy to unlock skills and employment opportunities for those who need it the most, with a particular focus on people who face greater barriers getting into or staying in work. This comes as 38 per cent of job seekers surveyed said they do not feel equipped to find employment2. The bank will work closely with leading charities and educators, to support the UK’s most underrepresented and underserved groups, enabling progression and reducing inequality gaps.

The new approach is designed to reach groups such as low-income families and ethnically diverse people and will focus on three audiences: young people (aged 7+), young adults, and families. By simultaneously supporting these audiences, the bank aims to more effectively address social inequalities.

Young people
In partnership with charities like The Talent Foundry, young people in schools that meet specific socio-economic deprivation criteria will receive support through the LifeSkills programme at least four times, to give them the confidence, skills and knowledge they need to succeed and reduce long-term issues of becoming not in education, employment or training (NEET). In 2022, LifeSkills participants reported 82 per cent higher and broader aspirations after completing the programme4.

Young adults
For young adults, Barclays LifeSkills will provide tailored skills training for those who face barriers getting into work and connect them with employers who are recruiting. In partnership with Street League, they are helping 16 to 30-year-olds living in some of the UK’s most disadvantaged communities using sport and education. The partnership includes one-to-one coaching, as well as group sessions to explore job preferences and employability skills to
help them overcome barriers that exclude them from securing a job.

Access to assistance with household income is an essential part of the strategy for families, so Barclays LifeSkills is extending their relationship with Family Action, who they have partnered with since 2020. With over a third (37 per cent) of jobseekers feeling held back by lack of confidence, together they aim to build practical employability skills and improve self-confidence through delivery of Barclays LifeSkills workshops and the provision of Learning Support Grants to help meet families’ basic household needs and increase their access to jobs. The new, three-year partnership will reach a further 5,000 people and help families to thrive.

C.S. Venkatakrishnan, Group Chief Executive Officer at Barclays, said: “The UK is reshaping its economy in the face of societal and technological change. Now is the right time to refocus our LifeSkills employability programme to support those underserved groups who face the biggest barriers in society.

“Working closely with organisations like The Talent Foundry, Street League and Family Action, we will provide support and training to help unlock skills and employment opportunities for disadvantaged people across the UK.”

David Holmes CBE, CEO of Family Action, said: “We are delighted to be working with Barclays over the next 3 years and we are very grateful for their continued support. The fantastic LifeSkills programme and the practical support provided by Learning Support Grants will work towards reducing the widening inequality gap.

“Our partnership with Barclays will make a profound difference to the futures of individuals and families we work with, by helping them to build the skills and confidence they need to move into education, training, or employment.”



The research was conducted by Censuswide with over 2,000 respondents who are unemployed and seeking a job in October 2023. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles and are members of The British Polling Council.

115 per cent
2Quite unequipped and very unequipped combined
3Intergenerational mobility in the UK, IFS:
4LifeSkills Impact Report 2023:

Our partners
Barclays LifeSkills is proud to work with a number of organisations who support them in building a stronger and more inclusive economy that’s better for everyone. More information can be found at their websites below:

Blueprint for All:
Breaking Barriers:
Business in the Community:
Catch 22:
Family Action:
The Jersey Employment Trust:
The London Community Foundation:
The Prince’s Trust:
SEO London:
Smallwood Trust:
Street League:
The Talent Foundry:
Teach First:
The Trussell Trust:

About Barclays LifeSkills
Since 2013, the Barclays LifeSkills programme has helped millions of people to build the core transferable skills, knowledge, confidence, and connections they need to get into or progress in work, whether that’s a young person preparing for their first job to someone wanting to make changes in their career or even start their own business. The programme provides free lesson plans, modules, and interactive tools to support educators with young people or adult learners, plus access to online tools and resources for independent learners and families.

For further information, please visit

About Barclays
Barclays is a British universal bank. We are diversified by business, by different types of customer and client, and geography. Our businesses include consumer banking and payments operations around the world, as well as a top-tier, full service, global corporate and investment bank, all of which are supported by our service company which provides technology, operations and functional services across the Group. For further information about Barclays, please visit our website

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