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Employment and training

LifeSkills: Catch22’s partnership with Barclays

A woman wearing headphones sits in front of a laptop

Hear from Meghan Sheehan, Head of Programmes and Investing, UK Citizenship, Barclays about how we’re partnering in new ways to deliver social outcomes.

We partnered with Catch22 to co-create Barclays LifeSkills, an employability programme aimed at supporting individuals aged 16+ with the aptitude and attitude to enter the workplace, but who face barriers to doing so. LifeSkills upskills and connects the young people with employers as well as supporting high-growth businesses and entrepreneurs to create entry-level jobs for young people who normally would not have access to these opportunities. We started working with Catch22 due to their unique position as a social business; their ability to work easily and effectively across both sides of the labour market.

Catch22 is a charitable organisation with strong links into the community, providing NEET individuals and ex-offenders the holistic support they need to succeed in work, but they are also a business and are able to work at the pace required by businesses, with the agility and flexibility to serve their needs.

Since partnering with Catch22, we have helped over 140 individuals into work. Catch22 is eager to experiment and innovate and are extremely collaborative, always working with both businesses and other charities to find the best solutions and the highest impact. These are the reasons why Catch22 is a trusted and valued partner of Barclays and we continue to be delighted to work with such a forward-thinking and genuine organisation. We look forward to continued success helping individuals into work through LifeSkills.

Growing Underground

‘I feel like I have a role here’, says Alex an apprentice with Growing Underground. Alex didn’t have the relevant qualifications to pursue a more business-centric path and came from a part of London that doesn’t have many job opportunities so was unsure of his career prospects.

Alex enrolled with Catch22 and was offered an apprenticeship with Growing Underground. This dynamic start-up is the UK’s first underground farm producing herbs and salad leaves, and apprentices learn a variety of skills from data analysis to core business admin skills.

Alex now sees a long-term career opportunity and for the first time feels engaged and empowered at work:

“I see this apprenticeship helping my career by giving me the qualifications, experience and knowledge to proceed whether it’s a promotion here or with a different business.”

Olivia O’Brien from Growing Underground explains:

“We had been looking to hire an apprentice for three months but were finding the process very difficult and weren’t able to source the right local candidate. Through the programme, Barclays immediately connected us with Catch22, who were instrumental in the recruitment of our apprentice Alex, and they will continue to support him throughout his placement. In addition, the possibility of matching our apprentice with a Barclays mentor is very appealing, and we look forward to putting that in place over the coming months.”

Gibbs S3

Gibbs S3 is a talent and human capital business and Europe’s fastest growing hybrid workforce solutions company. Following the company’s 52% growth in 2015, CEO Farida Gibbs concluded that her own business could benefit from opening its doors to apprentices.

Catch22, Barclays, and Gibbs S3 worked together to run an assessment centre to search for potential candidates. Farida found this to be a very effective approach: “It was a great way to find young talent in a collaborative way.” Two successful candidates have already started their apprenticeships.

Connie Foster, 17, left school early and applied for more than 100 jobs before finding employment through LifeSkills. She is now a front office coordinator who keeps admin up-to-date while 17-year-old Camilla has joined the digital marketing team and has a focus on social media. More apprentice positions will be filled soon and further opportunities are likely to become available as the business continues to grow.

Each apprentice is receiving training on the job and undertaking an NVQ course aligned to their chosen area, so they are gaining qualifications as well as experience. A Barclays mentor is also assigned to each young person, providing support throughout the apprenticeship period.

Farida is impressed with the dynamism the apprentices have brought to her business:

“These young people are passionate, motivated and willing to work hard. They want this opportunity. It helps to rebalance your business. We have seen a significant difference in how the teams operate. The apprentices are adding value and energy.”