Barclays, Inspiring the workforce of the future

With a 320-year history, and a continuing desire to lead in the Financial Services Sector, Barclays understands it must maintain a forward-looking organisation that flexes with generational culture and aspiration. The recent economic downturn and industry crises have increased the imperative for organisations to build and harness the innovation and fresh perspectives that diversity enables. Barclays continues to nurture and grow female talent by supporting girls and young women to achieve economic independence by acquiring financial and employability skills to widen career horizons. Barclays invests in partnerships with charities, NGO’s and social enterprises for scope and scale opportunities as well as empowering colleagues to use their professional expertise for knowledge and skills transfer. By inspiring potential in girls and young women, Barclays is supporting young talented females to take their place in economies and societies across the globe.

Igniting sparks

Barclays’ believes that early engagement of schoolgirls sets vital foundations for success, and offers:

  • ‘Money Skills’ and other outreach programmes to build financial literacy through interactive sessions run by Barclays’ employees
  • Employee volunteering for reading support and career discussions to inspire self-belief
  • Career-insight days and three-day work-experience programmes for school-leavers to inspire choice
  • Mentoring to give access to role-models to challenge career stereotyping. For example, Barclays’ female technology leaders give classroom presentations to prove opportunities exist for women in IT
  • Globally, Barclays acts to address education and career disadvantages for girls across its operational areas. Examples include:
    • Supporting 6,000 girls to remain in school in northern Ghana
    • Establishing 210 school libraries and supporting more than 1,000 girls through a ‘Girls’ Education Programme’ in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka
    • Providing career mentoring to 2,500 school children in Botswana, Tokyo and Zambia

Graduate growth

Barclays enables female graduates to see the organisation and industry as a stimulating career option, through:

  •  Female targeted graduate presentations to attract ‘first-rung’ talent
  •  Annual internships to provide meaningful work experience through ‘real-business’ project involvement
  •  Award winning business-led graduate programmes to give robust career-starter development, including exposure to senior leaders through mentoring and sponsorship
  • Women’s Initiatives Network (WiN) members ‘give back’, attending careers fairs and mentoring graduates, demonstrating women can have fulfilling careers at Barclays

Enabling careers

Barclays’ programmes have ensured young people can access skills and knowledge to widen and strengthen their career options.

Outreach activities:

  • Vocational skills provided to 650,000 lone parents via long-running work-ready schemes like ‘Horizons’
  • Women of the future style events and awards sponsored to inspire higher achievement via relevant role models
  • WiN ‘Big Initiative’ supported 100 disadvantaged women via one-year vocational training programme

Internal initiatives:

  • UK Apprenticeship programme providing 1,000 16-24 year-olds currently not in education, employment or training with concrete career options via permanent paid roles
  • WiN Junior Advisory Council makes the voices of aspiring women heard and provides input to young outreach programmes
  • WiN new joiner buddy scheme, mentoring, training and networking schemes, and career development days help with organisational orientation and career progression planning

Empowering entrepreneurship

  • Barclays’ young futures programme helps 650,000 young people gain the skills needed to start a small business. Other schemes incubate and enable entrepreneurial potential in young people via job-shadowing, mentoring and residential ‘business-camps’
  • Globally, Banking on Change – a savings-led microfinance programme – is enabling 400,000 people in 11 countries to improve their communities through grass-roots entrepreneurialism


In 2012:

  • 47% of applicants to the business-led graduate programmes were female
  • 53% of applicants to the annual internships were female
  • 44% of apprentices on the UK Apprenticeship programme are female
  • 80% of participants on the global microfinance programme are female

Barclays has helped girls and young women fulfil their potential and improve their career prospects by teaching them valuable life and employment skills. Female entrepreneurs are poised for success and Barclays itself has recruited considerable numbers of talented women. The scope of the work undertaken to inspire women to achieve their potential is significant.  Barclays commitment remains steadfast.

Source: Opportunity Now, Business in the Community

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