BARCLAYS has launched a massive national recruitment drive on Wearside.
The banking giant’s new Apprenticeship Programme aims to provide 1,000 jobs for young people who do not have prior experience or qualifications.
The first recruits have now started work at the company’s contact centre on the Doxford International business park.
Seventeen-year-old Charlotte Adams, from South Hetton, Sean Spowart, 22, from Jarrow, and Sarah Field, 21, from South Shields, will be at the front line in helping customers and working towards qualifications as part of their placement.
Two of Barclays’ most senior executives, chief executive of Barclays Retail and Business Banking Antony Jenkins, and Ashok Vaswani, chief executive of Barclays UK Retail and Business Banking, visited the centre to welcome them.
“Getting your first job can be a life-changing opportunity, but we know it is currently really hard to find work,” said Mr Jenkins.
“These young people all have great talent and potential but have not been able to get a foot in the door until now.
“The Barclays Apprenticeship Programme is giving them that vital first chance providing paid work, training and qualifications which will help them to develop long and rewarding careers.
“We are looking for many more young people in Sunderland and across the North East to start and build their career with Barclays even if they have no prior experience or qualifications.”
Sarah, Sean and Charlotte had all spent months looking for work before being accepted by Barclays.
“I was very excited and very happy when I heard I had got the job,” said Charlotte.
Sarah is looking forward to job security after working in bars and restaurants for the last few months.
“It is really difficult trying to get a secure job,” she said. “All people want is experience.”
Sean added: “It is catch 22. People ask for experience but I can’t get experience until I get a job.”
Rebekah Brown and Steve Mason are the three apprentices’ line managers at Doxford.
“They are absolutely fantastic,” said Rebekah.
“It has been great to see how much they have grown since they first came in.”
Steve is looking forward to having more apprentices to work with.
“I can’t wait,” he said. “These three have really, really impressed me.”