From education to employment


Barclays has today announced the launch of its new economic growth initiative for smaller towns in Kilmarnock, Scotland. 

Kilmarnock has been chosen as the bank’s second local economy pilot location. Barclays will join forces with local leaders in the heart of the town across government, business and education to identify how to boost the local economy through a landmark study and over a three-year period, introduce bespoke programmes and support to help business growth, skills and training and aspirations and confidence.


With Barclays research revealing that only 36% of businesses feel optimistic about the UK economy, the bank’s initiative seeks to shine a spotlight on regional growth opportunities so that local communities can become an engine room for job creation and the UK economy as a whole. The Scotland pilot will see the bank introduce bespoke actions for children and adults in the town of Kilmarnock over three years. These will aim to boost aspirations and skills and help them be ready for the future world of work and match the skills that businesses are seeking.  The bank will also provide support for startups, development and growth of SMEs and entrepreneurs during the course of Thriving Local Economies.


As a first step, from August 2019, all secondary schools in Kilmarnock will have access to the bank’s LifeSkills programme, which aims to equip people with skills they need for the world of work. Barclays colleagues based in Scotland and Business in the Community (BITC) will host sessions for 12-14 year olds to build the skills that businesses require in Kilmarnock: communication, proactivity and adaptability. In addition to upskilling young people in Kilmarnock, Barclays will also be working with the community to identify support measures for adults facing challenges finding and staying in work.


The new commitment to the town of Kilmarnock is another investment in Scotland, following the recent news that Barclays will create 2,500 new jobs at its new technology campus in Glasgow.  


Launching the programme at a LifeSkills session at a school in Kilmarnock, Barclays CEO Jes Staley, said: “If we want businesses and our economy to grow, and our young people to succeed, then we need to ensure investment in opportunities takes place not just in big cities, but also in communities like Kilmarnock, so that they can become the engine rooms of job creation and growth.


“As we double our Scottish workforce to 5,000 people, including through our major new campus in Glasgow, we want to ensure that there are employment opportunities for people from wider areas to benefit. And we know that helping to boost people’s employment skills often gives them that first chance to build a brighter career.


“That is why we’ve chosen Kilmarnock as our new location for our Thriving Local Economies programme that will see Barclays employees working with and learning from local schools and colleges, businesses and entrepreneurs, and help both young people and adults into employment. We want our work in Kilmarnock to discover the best ways to boost growth locally, and for wider communities too.”


The Scotland pilot in Kilmarnock follows the first local town economy study in 2018 in Bury, Greater Manchester programme.  Barclays will work with two further pilot areas in the five year programme: a rural community and coastal town, to gain a broad depth of understanding into how each type of local economy can grow.


Find out more at Home.Barclays/Thriving-Local-Economies



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