Creating clear early careers pathways: Barclays Traineeship and Apprenticeship programmes

February 2 2016

In 2012, Barclays had fewer than 300 employees under the age of 21. Employee turnover was up to 70% in some entry-level roles, while at the same time over one million young people nationally were identified as not in full-time education, employment or training (NEETs).

In response, Barclays developed a highly ambitious new youth strategy to build up a strong talent pipeline through an extensive Early Careers programme with multiple traineeship and apprenticeship entry routes. 

This strategy also includes the Barclays LifeSkills programme which aims to help young people to develop their employability skills. More than 2.6 million young people have already taken part and LifeSkills aims to reach many more in 2016.

Barclays Early Careers programme now includes a number of vocational routes into careers in several different areas of the business including investment banking, personal banking and support roles.

Training options include a 7 week traineeship focusing on pre-employment skills and Level 2 to 6 apprenticeships ranging from a 12-18 month Foundation Level apprenticeship to a three to four year Higher apprenticeship.

Apprentices who complete a Higher apprenticeship, which in qualification terms is the equivalent of an undergraduate degree, are then given the opportunity to move into Barclays’ graduate programme or other leadership positions.


More than 5000 young people have been positively impacted by the apprenticeship programme, with more than 2700 being able to secure a job with Barclays after their training since April 2012.

In 2014, 230 young people completed a traineeship with Barclays, 100% of whom were previously not in full-time education, employment or training and 69% of whom were from a disadvantaged background.

In 2014 alone, increased retention of junior staff helped Barclays to reduce their recruitment spend by £1million.

Mike Thompson, Head of Apprenticeships at Barclays said: “Investing in clear career pathways for our young colleagues is an important part of building a strong future talent pipeline and we have worked hard to create new vocational routes into careers across our business including in personal banking, wealth management and support roles. We fully back The Future Proof campaign’s aims to make the UK a leading place for young people to work. Any business looking to re-assess their youth employment approach would benefit from their framework and resources.”