Connect with Work
Connect with Work supports people who face barriers getting into work by providing tailored skills training and connecting them to businesses that are recruiting – including Barclays’ clients and suppliers. The programme takes a very deliberate demand-led approach – focusing on areas of significant job growth while working with a handful of the most impactful charity partners to deliver tailored skills training that meets the needs of both the people that we’re supporting into work and the businesses that are recruiting, including Barclays’ clients and suppliers.
The programme works with people who want to get into work but, for a number of reasons, face challenges – such as a lack of experience or confidence, fewer educational qualifications, care requirements or disabilities – and helps them to develop the skills, connections and opportunities that provide a way in, or back into the workforce.
Working across a variety of industries, and in some of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, Connect with Work provides employers with access to a unique, but often overlooked, pool of talent that exists in the communities where we live and work. This enables employers to diversify their recruitment efforts and gain access to new hiring channels.
Our global reach
UK and Europe
Attracting passionate staff to work in the care sector
Barclays and Bupa have had a strong relationship for many years and Connect with Work offered an opportunity to work together further. The access that Connect with Work could provide to a wider pool of potential candidates was an attractive prospect for Bupa. And for the company’s Learning and Development team, the programme also offered a chance to make a powerful impact on people’s lives.
Seven participants joined the initial Connect with Work programme with Bupa, supported by The Prince’s Trust. The participants split their time on the programme, with 70% spent working in Bupa’s care homes and 30% in classroom-based activities with Bupa, Barclays and The Prince’s Trust. At the care home, they experienced everything from housekeeping, laundry and kitchen support, to working with residents. This was so successful that the residents decided to invite the participants to join them at their annual summer barbecue, a highlight in the home’s calendar.
For Bupa, it was the support that both staff and participants received through the programme that made it stand out from other recruitment channels. For the participants, the learning experience of the programme had a powerful impact. Susanna Bannister, Connect with Work graduate and Bupa Activities Coordinator, commented: “I don’t want to think about where I would be without Connect with Work to be honest with you. It gave me so much confidence and self-belief…I adore my job, I would not want to change it for the world.”
That feeling was reciprocated by Bupa and staff – who were supportive of the programme throughout and amazed at the energy and fun that the candidates brought to the organisation.
Davina Barton, Head of Technical and Clinical Learning, Learning & Development for Bupa Care Services, says “At one point we had to ask them not to come in two hours early. They were that enthusiastic!”
Four of the seven participants were offered permanent employment with Bupa through Connect with Work.
Empowering local talent with skills for digital and tech jobs
Connect with Work is helping to address the shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals by providing technology skills training to people from underrepresented communities in New York and New Jersey.
In partnership with Per Scholas, Barclays employees co-designed a 17-week full time cybersecurity training programme to upskill people to prepare for jobs in this rapidly expanding area of technology. At each ‘Per Scholas powered by Barclays’ location, approximately 100 students per year will receive technology training and professional development, which includes employability skills training delivered by Barclays employees, supporting them into full-time employment at a variety of companies.
More than 80% of graduates are successfully placed into work within four months of completing the training programme, and the students also represent a key talent pipeline for Barclays. More than 50 Connect with Work graduates from Per Scholas have been hired either as full-time employees or in paid apprenticeships at Barclays – including Julissa Ortega, a chef turned infrastructure engineer.
Prior to taking part in the Connect with Work programme, Julissa, a resident in Queens, New York, faced challenges finding work that also allowed her to spend time with her seven-year-old daughter, dependent on her as a single mother: “I was working as a chef. I had to work most of the time in order to just make ends meet. That didn’t leave me time with my daughter. I needed to make a change,” she commented.
Interested in technology, Julissa applied to take part in the programme which she says has “changed [her] life completely.” Now one of the people interviewing Connect with Work graduates for jobs at Barclays, she comments, “I’m on the other side now.”
Supporting people through the early days of their career
As the world of work continues to change, the nature of, and the demand for, the skills required by businesses is changing and, while many people may have the academic or technical skills, they often lack the communication skills or corporate insight that will help them to achieve their career ambitions.
In addition to training in industry-specific skills, Connect with Work provides ongoing support to the programme graduates, including mentoring from Barclays employees who share their time and expertise, to help participants succeed and remain in their new role.
Pranil, a Connect with Work graduate from Amravati in India, got a job in Pune as a Finance Associate at a recruitment company, but faced a lot of challenges in communicating in English with his colleagues, clients and vendors. This had an impact on his confidence at work and prompted him to get in touch with his Connect with Work mentor. He said, “my Connect with Work career counsellor advised me to initiate conversation with my co-workers when taking a break from work and over lunch, and she suggested that I write a diary to improve my grammar and vocabulary. We also did a lot of role plays focused on how to have small talk.” Following this, Pranil says his confidence “improved to a great extent” and, working on all of the suggestions provided by his mentor, he believes is “getting better day by day at my work.”
Connect with Work also helped Yogita through the early days of her career. After securing an internship – Yogita’s first professional experience – she faced a number of obstacles, including her ability to speak in English, a lack of confidence and “fear in approaching senior leaders because of nervousness.” Speaking about her experience on the Connect with Work programme, Yogita commented that “it helped me understand the workplace in a better way. It boosted my confidence and now I am able to communicate in English with my colleagues.”
Connect with Work - the UK story so far
Responding to the changing future of work and inequalities exacerbated by COVID-19
Barclays made a commitment to support 250,000 people into employment through the Connect with Work programme by 2022. As the effects of the social and economic crisis caused by COVID-19 continue, it is more important than ever to work together with businesses and charities to break down barriers to work and support access to jobs.
To continue to deliver the programme and reach the increased number of jobseekers, Barclays’ charity partners have been offering virtual employability support to jobseekers – and hundreds of Barclays colleagues around the world have volunteered by sharing their skills and guidance as participants take their next steps into employment.
In recognition of the impact the crisis has had on different sectors, the programme is evolving to focus on industries that have the greatest potential for growth and job creation, such as the digital sector, and is helping to address regional inequalities by targeting those communities most affected.