PT Awards 2013 winners: Barclays recognised for its Youth Employment Initiative

Barclays collect their trophy for the award for Youth Employment Initiative
Barclays collect their trophy for the 2013 award for Youth Employment Initiative

Barclays won the Award for Youth Employment Initiative at the Personnel Today Awards on Monday night, a prize which ultimately led to the bank also becoming the event’s overall winner. The Youth Employment category looks to recognise those organisations going the extra mile to engage and develop 16- to 24-year-olds, whether through apprenticeships, traineeships or graduate schemes. Here we look at Barclays’ entry alongside the entries of our runners-up.

Dr Emma Parry, reader in human resource management at Cranfield University School of Management
Kiran Elliott, HR business partner at Travelodge Hotels

 


Barclays

About the organisation

With more than 300 years of history, Barclays operates in more than 50 countries and employs 140,000 people, 34,000 of which work in its retail banking operations in the UK.

The challenge

Barclays has high demand for new employees and wanted to mobilise talent at an early stage, while addressing the challenge of youth unemployment. To do this, it developed an apprenticeship programme to focus on young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs).

What the organisation did

  • Communicated the apprenticeship opportunity through channels such as careers fairs, job centres, life skills events and active community engagement.
  • Worked with 28 charity partners, as well as schools and colleges, to engage with candidates who would benefit most from the programmes.
  • Undertook proactive media coverage detailing the programme, including 30 MPs tweeting about it.
  • Introduced a structured programme where students earn while they learn, and are given allowances for reference materials and study leave.
  • Encouraged apprentices to work across the business in departments including Barclaycard, corporate and investment banking, wealth and investment management and RBB technology.

Benefits and achievements

  • More than 1,050 apprenticeship offers made, with more than 800 already started in the bank.
  • Before joining the bank, 73% of apprentices were claiming benefits and 23% had been unemployed for more than a year.
  • Of those that have joined through apprenticeships, 77%  are still working there.
  • Developed partnerships with other businesses to inspire similar programmes.

Judge’s comments

“The focus on NEETS and those without formal qualifications is useful.” – Emma Parry

The runners-up for the Award for Youth Employment Initiative are as follows:


The Certeco Academy

About the organisation

Certeco is a UK-based business technology consultancy. It offers specialist consultancy services to banking, insurance and financial services companies, and was the fastest-growing IT services company in the Sunday Times Microsoft Tech Track 100 in 2011.

The challenge

Many financial services companies had chosen to offshore business processes, but there were many disadvantages to doing this. Certeco wanted to provide customers with a viable local alternative to offshoring, while helping them innovate by recruiting talented “digital natives” and tackle high youth unemployment.

What the organisation did

  • Developed The Certeco Academy, a technology consultancy apprenticeship for school and university leavers.
  • Structured the academy into phases: recruitment (through assessment day); in-house training; shadowing (working with consultants on client sites); and working in a chargeable role.
  • Offered apprentices support through buddy systems.
  • Provided ongoing training through the course of the year; for example, Prince II project management, consultancy course and foundation level professional qualification of apprentices’ choice.
  • Academy consultants now make up 30% of Certeco’s consultancy workforce.

Benefits and achievements

  • Increased profitability through mix of experienced consultancy and Academy offering – can offer competitive alternatives to offshoring.
  • Revenues increased by 35% overall last year, 25% of which can be attributed to the Academy.
  • Changes have had a positive influence on customer satisfaction; 100% of customers would recommend Certeco.
  • Improved employee buy-in and feel-good factor; all employees recognise the value of the Academy and its contribution in building tomorrow’s workforce.

Judge’s comments

“I particularly liked the way that Certeco had matched the skills available in the young population to their business needs and had focused away from academic qualifications.” – Emma Parry

 


CGI

About the organisation

CGI Group is a Canadian multinational information technology consulting systems integration and outsourcing company. It employs around 69,000 people in 40 countries.

The challenge

The IT sector suffers from areas of skills shortage, and further education establishments cannot deliver the volume of people with the technical skills employers require. CGI wanted to attract talent earlier to gain a stronger competitive advantage.

What the organisation did

  • Partnered with the University of Winchester to deliver a sponsored degree/work experience programme for school leavers.
  • Students can gain a BA in Business Management or Business Management with IT in three years.
  • CGI delivered entire technical syllabus, the university delivers management modules and they manage selection together.
  • Offered the chance for advanced apprentices to progress onto degree programme.
  • Aims to work with university technical colleges to raise awareness of opportunities in schools.
  • Ensured induction gives a preview of life at CGI and builds candidates’ self-awareness and reflective skills.

Benefits and achievements

  • Retention rate on graduation stands at 91%.
  • Students earn a full-time salary and, with three years’ work experience on graduation, they earn more than a new graduate.
  • Invested in talent at a stage where CGI can train relevant skills – future proofing the organisation against skills shortages.
  • Reduced hiring costs and increased revenue.
  • Participated in CSR initiatives such as visiting schools or engaging with local businesses.

Judge’s comments

“Some clear business benefits and good use of partnerships to achieve objectives.” – Emma Parry

 


KPMG

About the organisation

KPMG operates as a network of member firms offering audit, tax and advisory services. Collectively it employs more than 152,000 people globally, across a range of disciplines.

The challenge

The Milburn report in 2009, “Access to the Professions”, highlighted the need to widen access to professions such as law and accountancy to a more diverse audience. KPMG wanted to improve social mobility and attract new emerging talent, so developed a programme to work directly with schools.

What the organisation did

  • Introduced “Access all areas” campaign to build long-term partnerships with schools through a national network of employee volunteers.
  • Targeted deprived schools (based on government data) to increase awareness of pathways into KPMG and related professions.
  • Offered opportunities including work placements, careers talks, curriculum support, employability sessions and literacy/numeracy sessions.
  • Students can apply for school/college leaver programmes at KPMG – the company pays tuition and accommodation fees.
  • Promoted campaign through brochures, exhibitions and Facebook page to students and through intranet and newsletter to staff/volunteers.

Benefits and achievements

  • More than 100 community activities have been delivered to target schools.
  • Almost 2,500 students have been seen through education outreach programmes.
  • Ninety-five KPMG volunteers have been engaged.
  • Sponsored school/college leavers’ programme has doubled in size since 2011.
  • Two-thirds of applicants in 2012 were from state schools, compared with around half for the traditional graduate entry route.
  • Attracting people from wider range of backgrounds has brought fresh perspectives and approaches.
  • “Access all areas” schools account for 1.5% of total applications (in 2013) and 14% of offers so far.

Judge’s comments

“The partnership with schools is an innovative and effective solution.” – Emma Parry

 


McDonald’s Restaurants

About the organisation

The McDonald’s Corporation is the world’s largest chain of fast-food restaurants, serving around 68 million customers daily in 119 countries. Its UK workforce is around 91,000.

The challenge

As one of the UK’s largest employers of young people, McDonald’s is often their first introduction to the world of work. Many come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and McDonald’s has helped them achieve nationally recognised qualifications through an apprenticeship programme.

What the organisation did

  • Asked Leeds Metropolitan University to analyse social and economic progression of its employees and found that 44% have two or more indicators of economic disadvantage.
  • Formed an education team in 2009, which has grown from two to 20 people.
  • Established a separate company to oversee the scheme (McEdCo), which gained a “good” from Ofsted in its first inspection (and an “outstanding” for leadership).
  • Internally developed exam invigilators, verifiers, training managers and apprentice trainers.
  • Introduced advanced apprenticeship in hospitality, supervision and leadership in 2012.

Benefits and achievements

  • Forty per cent of employees in the programme have improved their highest qualification since joining McDonald’s and 83% have improved or developed skills.
  • Nearly 20% of achieving apprentices have gone on to become trainers.
  • Promotions to front-line management in 2012 increased to 3,000, 45% of whom were qualified apprentices.
  • Number of employees that feel there are systems in place to meet their training needs stands at 95.1%.
  • Reduced recruitment and training costs: average length of stay in company stands at three years for hourly paid staff and 15 years for restaurant managers.
  • Served 62 million more customers in 2012 than in 2011; comparable sales growth of 7.7%

Judge’s comments

“This is undoubtedly an effective apprenticeship scheme.” – Emma Parry

 


IHG

About the organisation

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is a multinational hotels company operating several well-known hotel brands including Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza. It runs more than 4,600 hotels across 100 countries.

The challenge

Young people aged between 16 and 24 make up the largest share of employees in the hospitality industry. IHG recognised that the hotel sector could empower young people in local communities by equipping them with skills and experience.

What the organisation did

  • Launched IHG Academy – a public/private partnership with community and educational institutions – to give local young people hospitality experience and skills training.
  • Any IHG hotel around the world can participate in the programme, overseen by a corporate responsibility sub-committee.
  • Worked with local partners to provide tailored solutions based on the needs of that community.
  • Set up IHG Academy in Newham, east London, to help local young people get involved in the 2012 London Olympic Games.
  • Worked alongside the UK Government to create opportunities for young people to gain work experience, such as pre-employment programmes and nationally recognised qualifications.

Benefits and achievements

  • Won the Business in the Community Work Inspiration Award.
  • Fifty per cent of Newham Academy graduates have been offered jobs in IHG hotels.
  • Achieved a target of establishing 150 IHG Academy programmes globally – there are now more than 200.
  • More than 6,000 people have benefitted from the Academy during 2012.
  • More than 160 IHG hotels have been involved in the Academy programme.
  • More than 100 due to be established during 2013.

Judge’s comments

“A clear economic need matched with the demographic of the workforce. Some good use of partnerships to develop youth skills and large-scale participation.” – Emma Parry

 


Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council (RCTCBC)

About the organisation

RCTCBC is the third-largest local authority in Wales. The area has experienced many changes since the demise of its coal mining industry, with a sustained period of increased unemployment and low community morale.

The challenge

RCTCBC wanted to improve employment prospects for people across the borough. Faced with changes to welfare benefits and budget cuts, the council faced huge challenges in providing its services. It chose to focus on two areas: employment and training for looked-after children, and those not in education, employment or training (NEETs).

What the organisation did

  • Developed an in-house traineeship programme for those leaving care called “Step in the Right Direction” – an opportunity for up to six care leavers to develop skills and experience and ultimately apply for a role.
  • HR worked with aftercare services, mentors, line managers and the young people themselves to ensure the programme meets their changing needs.
  • Implemented two-year apprenticeship programme, offering qualifications from Level 2 to Level 5 in sectors from construction to early years.
  • Partnered with Welsh Government to agree 15 placement opportunities through Jobs Growth Wales.
  • Provided more than 600 work experience placements per year.

Benefits and achievements

  • Forty-four young care leavers have been provided with real employment opportunities.
  • Reduced unemployment and improved skills levels in the borough.
  • Introduced additional resources to support the delivery of council services.
  • Thirty-one apprentices joined the council in September 2012, and a further 13 joined in August 2013.
  • It was awarded a Social Care accolade in 2007 and National Training Award in 2009.
  • Council’s reputation as an employer has been enhanced.

Judge’s comments

“A useful range of schemes introduced to address a clear regional need.” – Emma Parry

 


Trafford Council

About the organisation

Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council covers an area of Greater Manchester with a population of more than 200,000. Its towns include Altrincham, Sale and Urmston.

The challenge

In 2010, Trafford was engaging with employers in the borough to increase levels of apprentice recruitment. However, it became clear that the council needed to do more as a role model in this regard, as only a tiny portion of its employees were aged between 16 and 19. In response, it launched an internal apprenticeships programme.

What the organisation did

  • Began pilot apprenticeship programme, prioritising looked-after children, NEETs and Trafford residents in areas of deprivation.
  • Came up with a strategy to support future sustainability of the programme, including ring-fencing apprenticeship opportunities in each service area.
  • Introduced a new category to Employee Recognition Awards called “Apprentice of the Year”.
  • Established a corporate parenting sub-committee, comprised of members, trade union representatives and relevant officers, to understand behaviours and competencies of those leaving care.
  • Looked-after children are able to try out different departments and use an assessment tool to identify their working preferences.
  • Introduced an eight-week programme targeted at year 11 pupils who have disengaged with education, plus planned summer school.

Benefits and achievements

  • Improvement in percentage of council workers aged between 16 and 19.
  • Overcame negative perceptions of young people and their capabilities.
  • Forty-three council managers trained as mentors to be matched up with apprentices and to support jobseekers.
  • A total of 121 people gained roles at Tesco through the council’s partnership agreement.
  • Pledge by local employers in deprived area of Partington to offer support through mentoring/work experience.

Judge’s comments

“A useful focus on NEETS, looked-after children and the local area. A holistic approach with a range of initiatives designed to support these individuals.” – Emma Parry

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