Barclays has launched an apprenticeship scheme for people over-50s who want a career in banking. The scheme, which will place former middle-aged trainees such as former accountants and maths teachers at the bottom of the workforce with the chance to work their way up, will be advertised in the summer and piloted later this year.
The move comes after older worker’s advocate, Dr Ros Altmann warned more should be done to offer employers incentives to train and retain older workers. It is believed that trainees will learn banking skills including calculating credit risks and according to the Sunday Times, Barclays said over-50 year olds have advantages over apprentices aged 16-24.
Mike Thompson, head of apprenticeships at Barclays told the Sunday Times: “There is no ceiling on how high anybody can go. Older people have more life experience, and can show more empathy. They will have a mortgage, they will know how to budget and how to support customers.”
Around one million people aged 50 to 64 years old have been forced out of their previous jobs due to their age and Dr Altman said that she although she understands the government’s focus on getting young people into work through subsidised apprenticeships, it has the knock-on effect of stopping employers from taking on older apprentices.
Support has also come from Employment Minister Ester McVey who said: “With 50 being the new 30, there are more and more older workers wanting to make the most of their skills and experience in a new career, and they have a hugely valuable contribution to make to any workforce.”
The government has since promised to tackle ageism in the workplace by offering new support to older jobseekers in a scheme which will be rolled out across the UK in April designed to give intensive work support to over-50s.
Figures show that the amount of over-60s workers joining placements over the past five years is greatly increasing, with a rise of 400 to 2,480.
According to Dr Altmann there are two more well-known companies announcing apprenticeship schemes for older people in the coming months. “There are two more in the pipeline for later in the year where big companies will be rolling out apprenticeship schemes specifically for over 50s.”
“I warmly welcome these initiatives. It is something that will be very beneficial potentially to people who need or want to embark on a new career, perhaps because they have been doing something that physically they can no longer do or perhaps because they have been involved in an industry which is no longer thriving or closing down,” said Dr Altmann.