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Mind the skills gap and empower disadvantaged young people

Brussels, Belgium, 22 October 2015

Building on last year’s success, JA Europe and Barclays are partnering for a second year to guide the next generation on the path to success, entrepreneurship, employability and financial skills. By joining forces in 6 European countries, Barclays and JA Europe are creating unique opportunities for 15,000 disadvantaged students to gain skills, competences and experiences that will make them more competitive on the labour market or prepare them to start a business.

Sticking with a winning formula, Barclays and JA Europe are deepening their cooperation in France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Russia and Spain to chaperon young people through completing a full year of practical entrepreneurship experience, under the Company Programme. At the end, students are offered the opportunity to take a special examination, the Entrepreneurial Skills Pass (ESP) – a European certification of their entrepreneurial skills. Students who hold the ESP can then access to advice and resources to advance their small business, access to further training, internships, mentoring and/or micro-financing opportunities.

Last year, Barclays and JA Europe engaged in the Company Programme 7789 students, with the support and guidance of 323 Barclays volunteers and 454 teachers from 352 schools. Altogether, the students created more than 550 mini companies.

“The experience we had in the first year of our partnership has been really positive. There are lots of encouraging stories of success behind the figures. This programme has contributed to reduce the risk of school dropout, and at the same time it has motivated a lot of our colleagues to get engaged. We aim to repeat the success we had last year, reaching out to even more students with the support of 300 Barclays volunteers.” - Sara Angulo Benitez, Head of Citizenship Europe, Barclays

To kick off the second year of this partnership, Barclays and JA national offices are preparing Innovation Camps in 6 major European cities that will challenge students to address social issues in their communities.

While the primary focus of the initiative remains the students, the project also helps improve links between schools and the business community by bringing Barclays volunteers in the classroom to work with the teachers and students (more about one Barclays volunteers’ story here).


About JA Europe

JA Europe is Europe’s largest provider of education programmes for entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy, reaching 3.2 million students in 39 countries in 2014. It was founded in 2001 when Young Enterprise Europe and Junior Achievement International Europe merged. JA works with the education and business communities as well as governments to provide young people from primary school to university with experiences that build the skills and competences they will need to succeed in a global economy. JA’s activities have been endorsed as best practice by the European Commission. JA Europe is the European Regional Operating Centre for JA Worldwide®.

About Barclays

Barclays is an international financial services provider engaged in Personal banking, Credit cards, Corporate and Investment banking and Wealth Management with an extensive presence in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. Barclays’ purpose is to help people achieve their ambitions – in the right way.

With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs approximately 135,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

For more information please contact:

Marie Hargitt
Digital Media & Communications, JA Europe
+32 (0)2 893 44 36

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