Equipping students for the workplace


Preparing for the world of work can be a daunting prospect for today’s teenagers. But a project run by Barclays and four charity partners is helping to equip youngsters with the skills, experience and confidence they need for the workplace.

LifeSkills, which was launched two years ago, is a free, curriculum-linked programme, developed with teachers to improve the employability of young people in the UK. 

So far 63 per cent of secondary schools across the country have joined the project, which offers more than 50 lesson plans and interactive resources for use across the curriculum. These cover everything from how to write a CV to building self-confidence and preparing for interviews. 

Tips for interviews include researching the company, practising interview questions, getting a good night’s sleep the night before, dressing smartly, and showing respect to people you meet at the interview. 

LifeSkills has a network of 13,000 Barclays volunteers who deliver workshops on people skills, work skills and money skills to schools. The programme also offers thousands of work experience opportunities at companies across the country. This is done by a matching service that connects 14 to 19-year-olds (via their teachers) to work placements.

“We know that work experience is key for young people,” said Tracy Williamson from the LifeSkills team. “Saturday jobs are more difficult to find these days so we have developed a platform where we offer thousands of work experience opportunities.”

To date more than 1.1 million young people have taken part in the LifeSkills programme. 

The feedback from teachers and students has been excellent. A report by the Work Foundation found that 87 per cent of LifeSkills participants said it had helped them with a range of social skills, including handling people and new situations more confidently. Meanwhile 82 per cent said it had enabled them to understand the sector or industry they would like to work in.

“LifeSkills has been amazing,” said a 15-year-old girl from Tring, Buckinghamshire. 

“Through the workshops at school I’ve learned so much about the skills employers look for and it’s given me the confidence I need to apply for sixth form and later on for jobs.”

To find out more, go to www.barclayslifeskills.com


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