Barclays has launched a new campaign aimed at helping young people get into the workplace after school, putting £5 million of its own money into the kitty to help kick-start the project.
The LifeSkills campaign, launched on Thursday with the help of entrepreneur Karen Brady, aims to help provide 50,000 work experience placements for those aged 14 to 16 years old, as well as provide schools with teaching resources to help educate children on how to get into work.
By 2015, Barclays hopes the project will have helped one million young people on the path to work.
The £5m will also be spent on building an integrated website, which will encourage employers and individuals to sign up to become part of the campaign, and on organising volunteer sessions. Two further contributions from Barclays are also earmarked for 2014 and 2015.
Waitrose, Centrica ISS and McDonald's are among the employers already signed up to help.
The teaching resources, handed out to schools across the country from Thursday, will feature three modules:
- Work Skills including interview skills, writing a CV and information on choosing a career.
- People Skills including interpersonal skills, self-confidence, communication, self-awareness and personal presentation skills.
- and Money Skills providing financial know-how which included managing a budget, calculating percentages and understanding on how lending works.
According to the Barclays' Youth Barometer report, 61% of 14-25-year-olds predicted it would be harder to get a job on leaving school in the next six months than today.
In addition, 72% don't believe they will achieve their career ambitions, and 28% believe they don't have the necessary connections to succeed.
Supporter of the scheme Karen Brady said: "Supporting the next generation into work is vital to the health of every business in the UK. They are our future work force but also our future entrepreneurs. That's why I’m calling on businesses large and small to join the 'Let's Go to Work' initiative and get involved through LifeSkills to transform the opportunities available to young people.
"It will provide the practical support you need to offer young people the work experience that will be so critical to their – and our economy's - future. Go on, sign up and let's together give one million young people the skills they need to be successful."
Antony Jenkins, Barclays group chief executive, has been under heavy fire in 2013 for Barclays' involvement in a number of mis-selling scandals, but clearly feels passionate about the Lifeskills project.
"We face a major challenge in supporting our young people to make the transition from education into the world of work. The opportunities we provide now to our young people for them to shape and realise their aspirations will have a profound impact on our economy and society," said Jenkins.
"This is why we are launching LifeSkills in collaboration with business, government and education providers, to transform the opportunities open to young people. The first step of this journey is helping them to make the transition from school to the workplace, which LifeSkills has been specifically created to address. I
"We, along with other businesses across the UK, aim to provide opportunities to learn from an employer through 50,000 work experience roles. We believe this approach, delivered through partnership, will achieve the lasting change our society requires."
Do you think this initiative is a good idea? And should banks be doing more to give something back to society? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.