Barclays: Could you be a trailblazer?

Written by
Mike Thompson

21 Oct 2015

21 Oct 2015 • by Mike Thompson

There is a vast array of apprenticeships in different sectors emerging, becoming more widespread and beneficial to both employee and employer.

Variety is key

More and more businesses are waking up to the benefits of apprenticeships. During this year’s ‘National Apprenticeship Week’, a huge range, Barclays included, announced 23,000 more opportunities over the next year. Add to this the more than 440,000 people who started an apprenticeship in England last year*, and it makes for a formidable number of people gaining new skills while earning a wage. 

Along with the rising number of apprenticeships on offer, their quality and variety are also improving. This seems set to continue, with all three main parties pledging to increase numbers of and access to apprenticeships if they are elected in May. One development brought in by the current Government has been to design new modernised apprenticeship standards by working with businesses: Trailblazers. These standards replace outdated frameworks and will provide more modern, relevant training for young people wanting to make their way in the 21st Century economy. They will enable them to undertake apprenticeships in new and emerging sectors previously closed to non-graduates, such as digital marketing. The benefit of designing these programmes with businesses is that candidates will have access to higher quality, industry-specific training as well as gaining experience of the workplace. They also offer a qualification equivalent to a degree.

A fresh approach to apprenticeships

Barclays Trailblazer apprenticeships, because of the in-depth skills training on offer, have allowed us to offer roles in new areas of the organisation such as corporate banking, wealth & investment management and investment banking. This is a great example of how apprenticeships are increasing in importance for businesses as they can now be used to find candidates for roles that would previously have required degrees. Like other apprenticeships in the organisation, they also provide a full living wage from day one and the offer of a permanent job upon completion of the qualification.

Of course, the candidates aren’t the only ones who benefit from schemes like these; businesses can also tailor them in order to fill gaps in skills or their workforce. Because apprenticeships are designed to give both experience and qualifications, it can also open up the recruitment pool. At Barclays, our apprenticeships are aimed at NEETs who often bring new perspectives into the business.

Deduct the stigma

Despite the appetite for apprenticeships from young people, and their quite obvious benefits, businesses still need to do more to remove the stigma around them. There remains, for some, the attitude that apprenticeships are a second choice or for those who don’t excel academically. LifeSkills created with Barclays found that over two thirds (67%) of young people weren’t aware that apprenticeships were offered to degree level, while over a third (36%) of 14 to 25 year olds felt they were just a backup if they weren’t able to get into higher or further education. This opinion was mirrored in their parents with (34%) agreeing that they felt apprenticeships were just a backup. In order to tackle this, businesses must work more closely with education providers to ensure that young people have a full understanding of their options, and what businesses are looking for in entry level recruits, before they leave education. 


Click here to find out more about Barclays’ own scheme. 

*Commons Library Statistics 25th March 2015