Thriving Local Economies

Barclays launches intensive skills training for Bury schoolchildren

28 February 2019

Barclays has partnered with 11 local secondary schools to deliver a bespoke skills training programme that aims to boost the aspirations and ambitions of Bury’s young people.

Starting in February, the students will receive an intensive, tailored version of the bank’s LifeSkills programme, which has already helped over 6.7 million young people in the UK. The schools taking part are The Derby High School, Broad Oak Sports College, Castlebrook High School, Parrenthorn High School, Philips High School, Prestwich Arts College, St Gabriel's RC High School, St Monica's RC High School, The Elton High School, Tottington High School and Woodhey High School.

This partnership is the first step in Barclays’ three-year commitment to boost Bury’s local economy. Launched by Barclays UK CEO Ashok Vaswani in September 2018, the bank’s Thriving Local Economies initiative seeks to ensure every part of the country can fulfil its potential and better understand how businesses can play a role in helping local economies to thrive. Bury was chosen as the first pilot area, and Barclays will be working closely with the council, schools and local business groups to develop a number of further projects that will look to support small business growth and prepare Bury with the skills needed in the future.

Kirstie Mackey, Director of LifeSkills created with Barclays, said: “Today’s young people are central to the UK’s economic future. For towns like Bury to flourish in the long term, it’s essential that we equip the next generation with the key skills needed to succeed in the future world of work. That’s why we are partnering with schools across the area to deliver a six-month intensive programme that will help boost the aspirations, mindset and employability skills of some of Bury’s most deserving young people.”

In Bury, LifeSkills will support 60 school children aged between 13 and 15, many of whom are either looked after by the local authority or have been identified as needing extra support to reach their full potential. Alongside the intensive programme, the schools will also be offered employability training for their Year 10 students.

The practical sessions on the transferable skills needed to succeed in the world of work will be delivered in partnership with The Transformation Trust, with the young people also receiving mentoring from local Barclays staff.

Damion Langford, Guidance Officer at Derby High School, said: “This is the right type of programme to enable and empower our young people, providing them with drive, determination and confidence. The LifeSkills sessions will equip our students with the skills and ambition that will set them up for the workplace, with the mentors providing practical advice to help them reach their career goals”.

Working with the 11 schools, Barclays hopes to address the skills gap as research1 reveals that just six per cent of teachers in the UK believe their students leave education with the skills needed for employment. 

Councillor Rishi Shori, leader of Bury Council, said: “Bury is a fantastic borough that is full of potential and our young people deserve the best support they can get. Businesses have a big role to play in preparing them with the skills and confidence to successfully move from education into the world of work.

“This ground-breaking initiative by Barclays will help deliver on the recommendations of the Bury Life Chances Commission, which is bringing together the needs of education, skills and business to ensure that Bury will prosper as a great place in which to live, work and study.”