Barclays has today announced further details of an apprenticeship with ‘no upper age limit’. The Bolder Apprenticeships scheme is for people aged 25 and up, initial details of which were first revealed by The Sunday Times back in February.
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.
“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.”
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.