Barclays’ scheme will aid 1,000 young apprentices

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A LEADING bank, which will offer 1,000 new apprenticeships to young people, has named Northampton as one of its “key locations” for delivering the scheme.

Barclays Retail and Business Banking will create the placements to offer youngsters a chance to build careers in the financial services industry. Roles will be based across England and Wales, but a spokesman for Barclays PLC, which has its main Barclaycard office in Brackmills, said: “We are launching the scheme in April and specific numbers of where apprenticeships will be put in place will be released then, but there will be a significant number in Northampton. It will be one of the key locations for the apprenticeships.”

The bank said it will recruit people based on aptitude and attitude rather than experience and qualifications and give specific focus to those not currently in employment, education or training.

Antony Jenkins, chief executive of Barclays Retail and Business Banking, said: “Tackling youth unemployment is one of the biggest challenges facing the UK economy. As a large employer we want to create opportunities which raise young people’s skills and aspirations, and help them to support future prosperity. We are really excited about this programme because it will give many young people their vital first job opportunity, which they can then go on to develop into rewarding long-term careers.”

Successful applicants will receive 12 months training and support and progress to a permanent position. Apprentices will work to achieve a competency qualification in financial services similar to an NVQ, a BTEC award in customer service and qualifications in numeracy and literacy.

Meanwhile, businesses in Brackmills have joined together as part of a new scheme to employ 150 new apprentices by the end of the year. The estate’s Business Improvement District (BID) board will organise a series of apprenticeship events throughout 2012 and the first session will take place at Festo Ltd in Caswell Road on Thursday, March 22.

See today’s Insight on pages 8-9 for more about apprenticeships.