Jobs: Banks create hundreds of apprenticeship places

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MAJOR high street banks will create new apprenticeship places and offer more places to young people, it has been announced.

The places include 1,000 new apprenticeships at Barclays across England and Wales, an extra 688 apprentices at HSBC and 50 people at a new apprenticeship scheme at Santander.

Announcements of the new apprenticeships were made following a financial services sector roundtable, held at HSBC in Canary Wharf, in London.

Skills minister John Hayes said: “Creating a highly skilled workforce that can take on the best in the world means seeing apprenticeships as an access route to the professions.”

Antony Jenkins, the 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.”

The new drive will provide opportunities for young people who are currently struggling to find work. Roles will be based across England and Wales and Barclays will be recruiting based on aptitude and attitude rather than experience and qualifications, giving specific focus to those not currently in employment, education or training.

Successful applicants will receive 12 months’ training and support and progress to a permanent position. During their training, apprentices will also 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.

While a large number of the new opportunities will be based in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sunderland, Birmingham, London, Northampton and Coventry in Barclays operational and contact centres, there will also be a number of roles regionally across Barclays UK Retail and Business Banking division providing services to customers in Barclays branches.

The Barclays Apprenticeship Programme will be launching in April and applicants can register their interest by calling 03332 409 719.

John Morewood, head of apprenticeships at HSBC added: “Apprenticeships complement our graduate schemes and help us continue our journey of professionalising our workforce.

“For many employees who wouldn’t have had the chance to gain a professional qualification, apprenticeships will give them increased skills and career opportunities as well as a nationally recognised qualification.”

HSBC aims to have 1,000 employees within its apprenticeship scheme by the end of 2012.

And Cameron Bird, resourcing director, at Santander UK said: “In 2012, Santander will launch an apprenticeship scheme that will see up to 50 people offered places at the bank. The scheme will provide both internal and external applicants the benefits of a formal work-based training programme which will lead to a recognised qualification. Both school leavers and older applicants looking for a new career will be eligible for a Santander apprenticeship.”