Press Releases

Barclays LifeSkills announces charity partnerships set to benefit all generations and tackle key issues facing labour market

12 October 2020
  • Over 11 million young people have already participated in LifeSkills since it launched 7 years ago
  • New partnerships will reach all generations

12th October 2020: Today, Barclays LifeSkills has announced a number of new charity partnerships to help tackle key issues facing the UK labour market and continue to provide support to groups and individuals most in need during the Covid-19 outbreak.  Programmes will aid progressing and staying in employment, supporting an ageing workforce and increasing employment skills levels.

Since 2013, the LifeSkills programme has been supporting young people to gain the core, transferable skills needed to succeed in the workplace, with more than 11 million having participated to date. The programme was extended at the end of 2019, using the scale and impact of the programme to now reach and help all generations in the UK to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence they need.

The partnerships announced today will reach almost 200,000 adults who are most in need of greater, more bespoke support to get into, stay and progress in the workforce.  Focusing on their most immediate needs and tackling the practical and emotional challenges faced.

Kirstie Mackey, Head of LifeSkills created with Barclays, said: “Making opportunities as inclusive as possible for all is key to boosting our labour market and helping the UK economy to recover post Covid.
“The expertise of all our charity partners coupled with the scale of our LifeSkills programme will benefit some of the most vulnerable groups in society, whether they are struggling with confidence, developing their skills, juggling caring responsibilities or returning to work after illness.

“We’re incredibly passionate about all the causes that our charity partners fight for and looking forward to working together to tackle some of the biggest barriers faced in getting into and progressing in the workplace.”

Lack of in-work progression

Viewed as one of the main drivers behind poor UK productivity levels and a main cause of in-work poverty. Five million UK adults1 are currently in low paid work, one million more than the OECD average.

  • Working Chance will deliver specialised employability support to integrate women with convictions into the labour market and help them to succeed in the workplace.
  • Timewise will run pilots in frontline sectors, working with both employers and individuals to unlock better work and progression pathways for those who need to work flexibly.
  • Child Poverty Action Group will pilot an innovative work support programme for second earners from low income families, helping them get into and progress in work.

Helping an aging workforce

Enabling more people over 50 to remain in work, supporting the UK economy with an ageing population. Nearly one third of the UK workforce are aged 50 or over2, and by 2030, half of all adults in the UK will be over 503. It’s vital that people feel they can work for as long as they want to, free from age bias and discrimination.

  • The Centre for Ageing Better will work in the West Midlands to support individuals over the age of 50, who are at risk of redundancy or have recently been made redundant, to find sustained employment through skills retraining.
  • Carers UK will work with Barclays to help those over 50 remain in work who may be struggling to juggle caring responsibilities.
  • Maggie’s will provide bespoke support to people with cancer, as well as families, to empower them to remain financially independent through employment.

Boosting adult skills

Delivering LifeSkills employability and financial skills to vulnerable individuals and groups.

  • Smallwood Trust will fund specialist women’s organisations and services to deliver 7,000 LifeSkills modules to financially vulnerable women helping them with financial capability and building employability skills.  Beneficiaries will include women leaving the criminal justice system and those who have experienced abuse, with a focus on areas of deprivation.
  • The Wise Group will work with Barclays on a one-year programme in Kilmarnock to deliver LifeSkills resources to individuals including the long-term unemployed, lone parents and individuals with prior convictions.
  • Family Action will run LifeSkills Holiday Hub clubs to support vulnerable and low-income families outside of school term time. As well as building participants’ confidence, financial and employability skills through LifeSkills training, the sessions will help to tackle issues such as food insecurity and social isolation.

- ENDS -

Notes to Editors
Source 1: www.learningandwork.org.uk
Source 2: Office for National Statistics, Labour market projections 2006-2020
Source 3: Department for Work and Pensions, Fuller Working Lives: evidence base 2017, page 13
Figures determined prior to COVID-19

For further information
Vanika Sharma, Barclays UK press office

07877 100 477

About LifeSkills created with Barclays

LifeSkills is giving millions of people the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to succeed in work, whether that’s a young person preparing for their first job, to someone wanting to progress in their career, make changes to their working life or even start their own business. ​

Building on the extensive knowledge and experience we have gained in running LifeSkills since 2013 with young people, the programme has been extended to the whole of the UK workforce and across all ages. This will be aligned with current employment trends such as under-employment and an aging workforce and areas where individuals want to change their working lives, such as career progression, introducing more flexibility and wellbeing or starting a business. ​As well as helping people to gain the core, transferable skills needed now and in the future. LifeSkills is delivered through:

  • A website where people can access free interactive online tools and resources tailored to their stage in life.
  • Providing lesson plans, learning modules and interactive content for educators to use directly with both young people whilst in education and organisations such as charities, housing associations and local authorises to use with adult learners.
  • Working with charity delivery partners ensures we are also reaching those people in society who need the most support.

​For more information visit www.barclayslifeskills.com

About Working Chance

Working Chance helps women with criminal convictions - most of whom have been in prison - to develop their employability and self-belief and find a job they can thrive in.


About Timewise

Timewise is a social consultancy, aiming to create a fairer workplace for all. Every year, we measure the social impact of our work.


About Child Poverty Action Group

CPAG is the UK's leading charity working to end child poverty. We seek to achieve this through evidence-based, solutions-focused policy, research and advocacy on child poverty in order to influence policymakers and the public and ensure our social security expertise is used to promote and protect the rights of children and families and maximise family incomes.


About Centre for Ageing Better

At the Centre for Ageing Better we want everyone to enjoy later life. We create change in policy and practice informed by evidence and work with partners across England to improve employment, housing, health and communities. We are a charitable foundation, funded by The National Lottery Community Fund, and part of the Government’s What Works Network


About Carers UK

Carers UK is a charity led by carers, for carers – our mission is to make life better for carers.

  • We give expert advice, information and support
  • We connect carers so no-one has to care alone
  • We campaign together for lasting change
  • We innovate to find new ways to reach and support carers


About Maggie’s

Built in the grounds of NHS cancer hospitals, Maggie’s provides free cancer support and information in centres across the UK and online.  Their warm and welcoming centres are open to see people by appointment with limited drop ins for those who are visiting hospitals.  This support is running alongside ongoing phone, email and digital support -  support which has helped people  60,000 times during lockdown. 


About Smallwood Trust

The Smallwood Trust is a national gender-focused funder with a clear mission: to end gendered poverty and enable women to be financially resilient. All of our grant funding is directed at supporting financially vulnerable women to overcome adversity and build a confident, positive and secure future.


About Wise Group

The Wise Group is a leading social enterprise working to lift people out of poverty. As an enterprise, we build bridges to opportunity for the most vulnerable in our society. Our team does this through mentoring support, employment, skills, and energy advice.


About Family Action

Family Action transforms lives by providing practical, emotional and financial support to those who are experiencing poverty, disadvantage and social isolation across the country.