The UK, like many other places, is in the midst of a financial illiteracy epidemic.

This affects people from all walks of life but is particularly crippling for young people if it is partnered with poor life skills.

In fact, some argue life skilling in a time of employment fluidity, ongoing upskilling, an ability to adapt and a culture of low job certainty is the core ingredient to success.

Although in reality such skills are probably not quite as important as raw academic ability, but they’re certainly a close second! After all, we’ve all met an office wizard who can’t apply himself pragmatically to the needs of the business. Sometimes these people are called mushrooms. i.e. Keep them in the dark and feed them s…

Back to the purpose of the article…

It’s interesting then that Barclays, a bank, and one of the many arguably hated financial institutions in the UK is taking a semi-governmental role by attempting to bridge the gap that is the basic inexperience and work environment shortcomings of young people.

We all know that financial illiteracy is particularly pronounced among the younger generation – partly due to a mix of disinterest and lack of education.

Yet, Barclays is straddling both the thorny issue of life skilling and financial education deficiency via a micro website it is prompting through mainstream TV, digital and traditional print media.

The site is aimed at helping young people build the skills and experiences needed to enter the world of work.

It provides advice on how to dress for an interview, what your body language should say, how you should address people, making eye contact etc.

Here is an example of the ads targeted at young people.

A little surprising that Barclays has opted to do this. It would have been more appropriate for one of the Government-owned banks to take on such a task, via the likes of RBS or Lloyds?

Maybe the folks at Barclays were keen to present themselves to young people not as the common perception of an organisation run by greedy bankers but as wanting to help Britain’s youth get ahead.

Or maybe this is just how banks engage with existing and potential customers these days, wherein days long gone they’d just provide you with  a piggy bank with a logo on it and imply that it’s in your interest to put money into the piggy bank (while slowly but surely reinforcing the habit and behaviour to save).


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