Barclays Connect with Work - Growing Underground

Creating access to employment

30 January 2017

‘I feel like I have a role here’, says Alex an apprentice with Growing Underground. Alex comes from a tough part of London with limited job opportunities and without the relevant qualifications to pursue a more business-centric path, he was unsure of his career prospects.

By enrolling with Catch 22, one of our charity partners who help with placements for our Connect with Work programme, Alex was offered an apprenticeship with Growing Underground. This dynamic start-up is the UK’s first underground farm producing herbs and salad leaves, and apprentices learn a variety of skills from data analysis to core business admin skills.

Alex now sees a long-term career opportunity and for the first time feels engaged and empowered at work: “I see this apprenticeship helping my career by giving me the qualifications, experience and knowledge to proceed whether it's a promotion here or with a different business”.

Benefits to employers

Growing Underground connected with Barclays via Unreasonable Impact, an intensive two-week accelerator which supports growth-stage ventures across the UK. The company are located in the tunnels below the Northern Line, near Clapham North and were keen to improve the lives of the people in the communities by recruiting locally.

Olivia O’Brien from Growing Underground explains: “We had been looking to hire an apprentice for three months but were finding the process very difficult and weren’t able to source the right local candidate. Through the programme, Barclays immediately connected us with Catch 22, who were instrumental in the recruitment of our apprentice Alex, and they will continue to support him throughout his placement. In addition, the possibility of matching our apprentice with a Barclays mentor is very appealing, and we look forward to putting that in place over the coming months.”

About Connect with Work

Barclays Connect with Work is a unique UK-based employability programme connecting individuals seeking employment with recruiting corporates. The programme is aimed at supporting individuals aged 16+ with the aptitude and attitude to enter the workplace, but who face barriers to doing so. Individuals get the chance to upskill as well as connect with businesses who are recruiting.  

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