Barclays has become the first UK company to extend their apprenticeship programme to people over 24, according to a statement released by the banking group this week. Barclays claim that the move is ‘recognising that apprenticeships are a viable route into employment for everybody’ and that age or social circumstances should not be a deciding factor.
“It has been widely reported that that we are facing a chronic skills shortage in the UK, said Mike Thompson, Director of Apprenticeships at Barclays, “The Government has suggested that based on current employer plans we will need to fill 13.5 million job vacancies in the next ten years, but only seven million young people will leave school and college in that time.
“We have to address this, we have to find alternatives and we have to provide opportunities to unlock the talent that is being underutilised across all age brackets.”
Barclay’s have received support from Minister for Pensions, Baroness Altmann, who said regarding Bolder apprenticeships that she was delighted that Barclays were seeking to employ a diverse range of ages.
“Having a diverse workforce – including an age diverse workforce – enables a business to reflect its customer base; to better understand and better serve its whole range of clients. I am delighted that Barclays has recognised this and is actively seeking to recruit people of all ages.
“As we can look forward to living longer, we need to re-think what ‘old’ looks like – the traditional stereotypes of people over 50 no longer apply. It is never too late to learn new skills, take on new challenges and live life to the full.”
Mike Thompson says that the difficulties older workers face in reentering the workforce should be recognised and challenged.
“Once out of work, older workers face a much tougher task to find the opportunities to get back into full employment again. We believe that age or social circumstances shouldn’t be a barrier or deciding factor in finding a viable route to employment. Reskilling can be achieved at any age.
“Barclays has launched the Bolder Apprenticeship programme to demonstrate our commitment to creating career opportunities regardless of age. From today, we want to start a conversation with other businesses to increase collaboration, regardless of sector or industry, to address how we can maximise the valuable contribution older workers make.”
Mike Thompson will be speaking at the Symposium Apprentices and School Leavers conference on December 3 in Canary Wharf, London. His address is entitled ‘Do apprenticeships for older people work?’ and he will be discussing Baclays Bolder Apprenticeship programme.
To find out more about the event and to book your place, click here.
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