Barclays helping Kilmarnock thrive

11 June 2019

Barclays has announced that Kilmarnock in Scotland will be the next location for its growth initiative, Thriving Local Economies.

The programme involves working closely with leaders from businesses, government and education over a three-year period to identify opportunities to boost the local economy. The aim of the initial research is to inform the introduction of bespoke programmes to support business growth, skills and training and aspirations.

Kilmarnock is the second of four locations to be selected for Thriving Local Economies, following the unveiling of Bury in Greater Manchester last year.

Kilmarnock: a thriving local economy

The pilot will target children, adults and local businesses. A big part of this is helping them to develop the skills that businesses nationwide are seeking. To achieve this, all secondary schools in Kilmarnock will soon have access to the bank’s LifeSkills programme.

Barclays colleagues will also host sessions for 12-14 year olds to build the skills that businesses require in Kilmarnock: communication, proactivity and adaptability.Work will also take place within the community to identify support measures for adults facing challenges finding and staying in work. In addition, Barclays will provide support for startups, development and growth of SMEs and entrepreneurs.

The new commitment to the town of Kilmarnock is another investment made by Barclays in Scotland, following the recent news that Barclays will create 2,500 new jobs at its new technology centre down the road in Glasgow. 

Speaking at the launch event at Ayrshire College, Barclays Group CEO, Jes Staley said: "What Barclays want to do is direct its attention on smaller towns and communities and then use the knowledge that we have, the data we can collect, the programmes that we have around schools, like LifeSkills, the programmes that we have around start-ups, like Eagle Labs.

"If we can have the local towns of the UK enjoy the same economic opportunity that the major cities are having, that’s great for the country, that’s great for Barclays contribution to the United Kingdom. 

Barclays is backing the UK

"We want to back the UK. The UK has got an exceptional educational system. It’s got extraordinary history and legacy. It has a lot great business. It’s got innovative and creative people. And we hope that it’s got a great banking system that can contribute all of this to come together for the betterment of society and allowing people to rise."

Commenting on the initiative, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "I want to thank Barclays for this initiative and for its continued investment in Scotland. Barclays has strong historic ties to Scotland and it also has a major modern presence here.

"Just last year of course it announced the major Buchanan Wharf development in Glasgow. Today’s pilot further strengthens that presence. This initiative will provide a further boost for the area. It will provide an additional impetus for the private sector, the public sector and the wider local community to work together."

Bury: the first thriving local economy

In 2018, Barclays named Bury in Greater Manchester as the first pilot for the Thriving Local Economies initiative. So far, the bank has worked with 11 local secondary schools to deliver bespoke training as part of its LikeSkills programme; 60 schoolchildren aged 13-15 have taken part. The training was delivered in partnership with The Transformation Trust and young people have also been offered mentoring from Barclays staff.

Recently, Barclays hosted a business breakfast where local leaders came together to discuss resilience, dealing the challenges businesses face from extreme weather to cyber-crime. Barclays will work with two further pilot areas in the five-year programme: a rural community and coastal town, to gain a broad depth of understanding into how each type of local economy can grow.

The Thriving Local Economies Kilmarnock announcement in full.