This article has been submitted by Business in the Community (BITC Cymru)
Business in the Community Cymru’s partnership with LifeSkills, created by Barclays, will have supported over 30,000 young people in Wales to develop their work ready skills by the end of this academic year.
Work ready skills
Through LifeSkills, Barclays’ free-to-access, curriculum-linked employability skills programme which Business in the Community (BITC) Cymru is helping to take further into classrooms across Wales – thousands more people are having the opportunity to develop their interview skills, personal communication and money management skills; helping them take the first steps towards their careers.
77% of young people in Wales who have taken part in at least one LifeSkills session through BITC Cymru report their confidence levels have improved, helping them to be more successful in applying for roles in the future.
BITC Cymru began supporting the delivery of LifeSkills workshops in Wales in September 2014. Building on the success in its first two years, the contract has been extended to August 2019, with a renewed focus on increasing the engagement with young people in schools and broadening the delivery out to colleges whilst still providing stimulating and engaging sessions on the skills that young people need and business wants to see.
Commenting, Matt Appleby (Director, Business in the Community Cymru) said:
“Employers of all sizes and sectors tell us that one of their biggest challenges is hiring the right people. With the importance of transferable skills like presentation and communication skills to employers, LifeSkills gets right to the core of the issue.
“The programme not only brings business volunteers into schools and provides interactions between them and young people, but also gives those same pupils the chance to develop their interview and personal skills – helping to make their first step into the world of work simpler and more successful.
“Working with Barclays volunteers – and now with BITC colleagues in Scotland and Northern Ireland also working on LifeSkills – has been a great experience and 30,000 is a huge achievement; but one we are looking forward to building upon.”
On the ground in Merthyr Tydfil
Cyfarthfa High School in Merthyr Tydfil, a secondary school with around 1,200 pupils, has been one of the schools in South Wales which has benefited hugely from the LifeSkills programme. The first session at the school took place two years ago and saw BITC Cymru staff and 21 Barclays volunteers teaching pupils in year seven – the first year of secondary school – how to open a bank account. That was followed by sessions with other year groups on CV-writing, planning an event, savings, budgeting and ‘needs and wants’ – a way to help young people work out whether they should spend money on something or not.
“By the end of this year, we will have delivered the programme to the whole school,” says Rhian George, Careers Coordinator and Head of Business Studies and Vocational Education at Cyfarthfa High School.
“The resources are fab: accessible and easy to understand,” she says. “The pupils are really engaged and we always have volunteers from Barclays alongside the BITC Cymru staff who run the sessions and our teaching staff also get involved.
“I think one of the strengths of the programme is that it’s not run by teachers – we deliver so much to them that it’s a bit like, ‘Not you again!’. It’s good for them to see a fresh face from outside the school, who might be able to offer a different perspective.”
Kirstie Mackey, Head of LifeSkills at Barclays added:
“As the world of work continues to evolve and become increasingly competitive, it is vital that we ensure all young people are offered the same chances to improve their employability and the opportunities to gain the core transferable skills that employers are looking for.
“Government, businesses, educators and parents need to work together to improve careers advice and invest in the next generation, raising their confidence and aspirations and building a talent pipeline. We are extremely proud that our partnership with BITC Cymru is making a tangible difference for young people in Wales.”
Business in the Community Cymru is the in-school (and college) delivery partner for LifeSkills created with Barclays in Wales.