Behind the scenes of Barclays’ first virtual internship
This summer saw 1,000 interns from 25 countries join Barclays ¬– all from their own homes. Emma Padmore, Candidate Acquisition Manager, and some of the students who took part, share highlights of the bank’s first ever virtual internship.
Every summer, Barclays welcomes a new group of interns through the doors of its offices around the world, ready to step up their skills, meet like-minded people and learn what it’s like to work for the bank.
But when the COVID-19 crisis hit, it quickly became clear that colleagues would have to adapt how they delivered the bank’s internship to the class of 2020. It was crucial that the interns who were joining Barclays still got to experience the bank’s focus on inspiring, supporting, challenging and connecting the next generation of talent.
Colleagues at the bank worked swiftly to bring the programme online – allowing students to experience the bank’s culture virtually, while staying safe at home.
“We felt it fundamental that the virtual nature of the internship was not a barrier to learning and wanted to keep the sessions as engaging and innovative as possible,” explains Emma Padmore, Candidate Acquisition Manager.
Thanks to the hard work and effort, both from our interns and across the organisation, we have secured some fantastic talent for our 2021 graduate programmes and are very excited about what the future holds for them
Candidate Acquisition Manager at Barclays
“Working from home meant there was a strong focus on networking and connecting across the bank through technology and thinking outside the box in terms of how we shared knowledge. Nonetheless, we still ensured the essential content was delivered and interns left with a holistic understanding of Barclays and their business area.”
An action-packed programme
The virtual internship saw students undertake a busy six-week schedule that included professional skills training, introductory sessions on financial concepts, senior speaker sessions, virtual coffee catch-ups, introductions to the bank’s Diversity and Inclusion networks, virtual quizzes and networking sessions.
Interns were encouraged to take a hands-on approach, learning about everything from pitching to building a personal brand through Barclays’ online learning platform. Aryaman Awasthi from New York, US, who studies Mathematics and Computer Science, says: “I’ve learned new coding languages and interacted with tech platforms that I’ll use in my future career.”
The summer internship also gave students the chance to put their skills to practise in a professional context. “During my internship I’ve designed a web application to track internal projects,” explains Himani Dodeja, a Computer Science and Finance student from Buffalo, US. “In college, they teach you the basics, but they don’t teach you how to design a full-scale application.”
I’ve worked alongside an amazing group of interns and learned how to effectively organise a team in a virtual setting – not to mention across different time zones
Finance and Investment student
“The culture at Barclays stood out to me”
Despite not being able to connect in-person, each intern was supported with regular catch ups with line managers, ‘buddies’ and senior mentors, which gave interns the chance to get a sense of Barclays’ values and culture – and learn more about what it’s like to be a colleague.
“My biggest takeaway is that Barclays realises that there’s always more to do and they’re striving to become better,” says Rhea Nambiar from Dubai, UAE, who took part in the Barclays internship. “There are so many initiatives and communities that diversity isn’t just something that exists, but it’s something that is actively celebrated.”
Nikita Cooke from Inverness, UK adds: “Even from home, the culture at Barclays stood out to me. Everyone has been so friendly and willing to offer advice.”
For Nataliia Taran, a Finance and Investment student from New York, US, working remotely actually offered the opportunity to learn some valuable project management skills: “I’ve worked alongside an amazing group of interns and learned how to effectively organise a team in a virtual setting – not to mention across different time zones.”
Even from home, the culture at Barclays stood out to me. Everyone has been so friendly and willing to offer advice
Accounting and Finance student
Padmore says the team at Barclays were proud that the digital integration of the programme was a success – and that the bank has been introduced to some potential new colleagues. “Thanks to the hard work and effort both from our interns and across the organisation, we have secured some fantastic talent for our 2021 graduate programmes and are very excited about what the future holds for them,” she says.
“We learned a lot from the delivery of the internship and it will strongly influence our planning going forward in this COVID-19 climate. We remain passionate about our commitment to recruiting early careers talent into Barclays and will be continuing with this vision going forward.”