“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.”
Working with outsourcing company Capita, it takes around six weeks for the bank to screen recruits, before offering them a job.
Trainees have spent time in classroom learning and have done work experience over the summer and started in roles last month, in London, Liverpool, Northampton and Sunderland. They are working in high street branches, at Barclaycard and in ‘sky’ offices (its contact centres).
Mike Thompson, director of apprenticeships at Barclays, says: “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.
Older workers (aged 51 to 70) are seen by employers as having the best knowledge for their occupation, as reported by High50 in June, according to figures from the Institute of Leadership and Management.
However, it is also the age group bosses see as least likely to progress in their careers, with 41 per cent of managers saying that 50-plus workers have ‘very low’ potential to progress, with a further 20 per cent saying it is ‘low’.
Commenting on the new Barclays scheme, Ros Altmann, the minister for pensions, said: “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.”
Currently, there are 43 apprentices enrolled on the scheme, a third of which are over 50. The bank is aiming for 100 people in total by the end of the year.
While the bank acknowledges that these are small numbers, it hopes to grow the initiative and says that it is part of a variety of training schemes it offers, including ‘higher’ apprenticeships where it sponsors people through university (regardless of age).
Other trainees who are part of Bolder Apprenticeships, who had all been unemployed for a year or more, may be returning to work after parental leave, starting a job after time off caring for a relative or entering back into civilian life after being in a military role.
Barclays also launched Digital Eagles in 2013, a scheme to help older people get online. It started with eight ‘eagles’, and the bank now has more than 14,000."
"Lucille Galloway, 51 is a Bolder Apprenticeship graduate and is a Community Banker at the Barclays Ealing Broadway Branch. Prior to taking up the scheme, Lucille had held a number of job roles, from working in admin to advising adult students.
She already had a diverse skills set, having been a classroom learning support assistant, a nanny, a housekeeper and even secretary to a conservative member of parliament. However, she had been out of work for two years before discovering the apprenticeships that Barclays offer – and she credits them as giving her the new lease of life that she needed at the time.
“Taking on an apprenticeship role at Barclays has been an amazing, life changing experience. It has really given me a new lease of life and has opened my eyes to the possibilities of what is out there”.
“I’ve learnt so much and feel like I’m continuing to gain new skills every day”
“I’ve learnt so much and feel like I’m continuing to gain new skills every day. Before I joined Barclays, I’d held a variety of job roles, such as a learning support assistant, a housekeeper and a carer, but had been out of work for two years. Taking on an apprenticeship has completely changed my view of them and I often find myself re-educating people on what they’re all about!”
“I’d definitely recommend anyone who has the opportunity to take up an apprenticeship to go for it, particularly someone of my age who may be struggling to get back into a career or who is looking for a new challenge. It will be one of the best things they’ve ever done.”
Taking up an apprenticeship later on in life was a great opportunity for Lucille, and was made possible by the Barclays Bolder Apprenticeship programme. She now occupies a full-time role at a Barclays branch and is a big advocate for apprenticeships; she can often be found educating anyone that will listen about the benefits of becoming an apprentice!"