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Barclays set to launch first ever degree-level apprenticeship in Banking

  • Barclays will launch the first ever degree-level apprenticeship in Banking to encourage careers in banking to all regardless of background
  • Just 37 per cent of parents are aware of financial apprenticeships whereas 77 per cent know they are available in plumbing and 66 per cent in hairdressing[1]
  • Despite great career potential with apprenticeships, 47 per cent of parents and 68 per cent of teachers are not discussing apprenticeships as viable career path1
  • Recent figures show that apprentices earn just 1.8 per cent less over a lifetime than graduates and significantly more than those with just A-Levels[2]

LONDON, 6th March: Today Barclays announces it will be launching the UK’s first ever degree-level apprenticeship in Banking. Set to launch later this year, it will encourage a wider range of people from any social demographic, background or age to enter the industry. For Barclays, it will create new pathways for the apprenticeship programme in the bank, including Corporate Banking and Wealth Management.


While apprenticeships are now available in an ever-growing range of sectors, research shows the majority of parents aren’t fully aware of the variety of these industries. Over three-quarters (77 per cent) admit to knowing about apprenticeships in the plumbing industry and two-thirds (66 per cent) have knowledge of one in hairdressing, but only 37 per cent are aware of ones in financial sector1.


Despite the potential for great careers with apprenticeships, recent figures show nearly half (47 per cent) of all students’ parents and 68 per cent of their teachers never discuss apprenticeships with young people as a genuine, viable career route and alternative to university1. What is also concerning is that 60 per cent of students surveyed were worried their parents would be disappointed if they chose not to go to university, with 30 per cent citing it as a key reason for attending[3].


To further highlight apprenticeships as a viable career routes, the research shows that apprentices earn an average ‘Lifetime Earning Premium’ of £117,600 more than those with just A-Levels – with graduates earning just £2,200 more over a lifetime, or 1.8 per cent more. In some sectors, apprentices’ lifetime earning potential is 270 per cent more than graduates2. Furthermore, with rapidly increasing university fees, the Lifetime Earning Premium gap between graduates and apprentices looks set to diminish entirely, demonstrating that apprenticeships are a viable and worthy alternative to a university education – and will become increasingly important to the UK economy2.


Mike Thompson, Head of Apprentices for Barclays said: “We want people of all ages and backgrounds to consider a career in banking - a sector that we know is traditionally viewed as something only university graduates work in. That’s why we plan to launch the UK’s first degree –level apprenticeship in Banking; to open up banking to people from all backgrounds, allowing them to earn and learn, without racking up student debt.”


The new apprenticeship standard will be a programme with the option to do a degree or equivalent qualification (level 6 professional qualification). It will cover a range of pathways including: Corporate/Business Banking, Operations, Workplace Pensions, Investment Banking, Investment Management and Retail Banking.


With almost 3,000 participants since launching its award-winning Apprenticeship programme in April 2012, Barclays offers a variety of programmes to suit a range of levels, interests and ages - including Traineeships, Foundation, Advanced, Bolder, Higher & Degree Apprenticeships. Through these programmes, Barclays will offer candidates the opportunity to achieve far-reaching skills, experience and insight. Enabling candidates to earn while they learn, Barclays Higher and Degree Apprentices receive 100 per cent funding, along with a competitive salary and benefits.


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Notes to editors

About the Financial Services Professional Apprenticeships

The Financial Services Professional standard will be the first degree apprenticeship standard in the financial services sector. It is a core and options standard meaning the apprentices will all gain a core grounding in the financial services sector but will be able to specialise in the part of the sector they wish to work in. Core elements will include products and services, regulation, client and customer segments and processes.

Specialist options available are;

  • Retail Banking
  • Investment Banking
  • Pensions
  • Investment Management
  • Workplace pensions
  • Commercial/Business Banking

Apprentices will be able to choose to do a full degree through a Higher Education provider or undertake the equivalent level 6 qualifications through the relevant professional body. On completion, the apprentice will be able to apply for the appropriate level of professional membership aligned with this apprenticeship from one of the professional bodies listed below:

  • Chartered Institute of Securities & Investment
  • The London Institute of Banking & Finance
  • Chartered Banker Institute
  • Pensions Management Institute
  • CFA Institute /CFA UK
  • Chartered Institute of Credit Management

The apprenticeship is expected to take between 3-4 years and the entry criteria will be defined by the employer and the Higher Education/Professional body for their individual programme.


The standard will create a single umbrella entry pathway into the diverse parts of the financial services sector and will be a recognised across the sector. The standard has been created by the Trailblazer group.


About the “Productivity and Lifetime Earnings of Apprentices and Graduates” report

Cebr compare the earnings potential of Level 4 apprentices with graduates. The net earnings premium of a graduate degree is the difference between the lifetime earnings of an individual with a degree, and the lifetime earnings of an individual in possession of two or more GCE A-Levels. Similarly, the net earnings premium of a Level 4 apprenticeship is calculated as the difference between the lifetime earnings of an individual with a Level 4 apprenticeship, and the lifetime earnings of someone with two or more GCE A levels.


Cebr use the lifetime earnings of an individual with A-Levels as the reference group, against which they compare how the lifetime earnings of apprentices and graduates can vary across similar subjects. This allows Cebr to isolate the earnings benefits of the qualification specifically, rather than any other personal or socioeconomic factors that can influence an individual’s earnings potential.


To estimate the productivity benefits of Barclays’ apprenticeships, Cebr combine estimations of apprentice productivity across schemes, as established in BIS (2012)[4], with recent apprenticeship enrolment data and training costs data provided by Barclays.


About Barclays Apprenticeships

Launched in April 2012, Barclays began with just eight apprentices in Personal Banking and has since grown the programme in a number of units across the UK and also internationally – recruiting its 2,000th apprentice at the end of 2014.


An apprenticeship helps those with little or no experience become ready for the world of work, and is designed to grow confidence and build experience and skills. It is not just an interim assignment, Barclays offer a permanent role and career pathway.


By engaging in unemployed communities, Barclays is making careers in Banking and Financial Services more accessible to everyone, diluting the myth that a career in banking requires experience and qualifications.


Press Office contacts

  • For more information, contact
  • Interviews are available with Mike Thompson, Head of Apprenticeships at Barclays
  • Apprentice case studies are available
  • The full report “Productivity and Lifetime Earnings of Apprentices and Graduates” is available on request

[1] According to research from OnePoll on behalf of Barclays in 2016 of 1,000 parents of 16-24 year olds

[2] Figures from a Cebr and Barclays report “Productivity and Lifetime Earnings of Apprentices and Graduates” in 2016

[3] According to research from OnePoll on behalf of Barclays in 2016 of 1,000 university students

[4] BIS, (2012) “Employer investment in apprenticeships and workplace learning: the fifth net benefits of training to employer’s study”, BIS Research paper no. 67

About Barclays

Barclays is a transatlantic consumer, corporate and investment bank offering products and services across personal, corporate and investment banking, credit cards and wealth management, with a strong presence in our two home markets of the UK and the US.

With over 325 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 40 countries and employs approximately 120,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

For further information about Barclays, please visit our website .