Skill Up, Step Up

Barclays Life Skills

Skill Up, Step Up is a new £1m Evening Standard and Independent appeal in partnership with Barclays LifeSkills to upskill unemployed and disadvantaged young Londoners so they can be “work ready” and step up into sustainable jobs or apprenticeships. 

The Skill Up, Step Up fund is funded by Barclays and managed by the London Community Foundation. It will provide grant funding over two years for five outstanding handpicked charities that provide disadvantaged jobless young Londoners with employability skills and wrap-around care to get them into the labour market and transform their lives:

How can your company Step Up?

We want companies – large, medium and small – to step up to the plate with a pledge to employ one or more trainees in a job or apprenticeship. They could work in your IT, customer service, human resources, marketing or sales departments, or any department with entry-level positions. You will be provided with a shortlist of suitable candidates to interview. To get the ball rolling, contact us at:

How can you get support to Skill Up?

If you are aged 16-24 and want to upskill towards a job, you can now register for an employability programme:

  • Resurgo's Spear Programme operates across eight centres in London, located in Bethnal Green E2, Camden NW3, Hammersmith W6, Harrow HA1, Islington N7, North Kensington W10, Kennington SE11 and Clapham Junction SW11. The course provides unemployed young people aged 16-24 with the confidence, motivation and vital skills required to succeed in employment. They also offer 12 months of career support after the initial training. Click to find out more about Resurgo.
  • First Rung’s Youth Employability Skills programme is for 18-24s who are not in education, employment or training, and who are affected by anxiety and mental health issues. Programme participants develop employability skills and personal attributes to secure and sustain employment/work placement opportunities. More details on First Rung here.
  • City Gateway’s education and training programme prepares young people aged 16-24 for employment or an apprenticeship through training, coaching and work experience. They enrol and start courses every four weeks. Check the City Gateway website to find out more.

  • Springboard’s next courses start on 13 February and 3 April. The course upskills unemployed 16-24-year-olds by providing training and guaranteed interviews for roles in the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors. You can sign up to Springboard here.

For more tools, tips and learning resources visit


Get to know our partners

About Springboard

Central London-based Springboard (link opens in new window) was established in 1990 to support the hospitality, leisure and tourism industry and those seeking employment within it. Its aims range from providing advice, training and skills courses to young people under 25, through to relieving poverty and unemployment. It also tackles misrepresentation of the viability of the hospitality, leisure and tourism industries as a career choice, and the resulting staff and skill shortages. As part of this programme, they will get young people jobs in the hospitality industry (hotels, restaurants, bars, leisure and tourism) via a 3-6 week programme that includes one-to-one mentoring, soft skill and employability development (confidence, work attitude, CVs, interview skills, time management), practical industry and hard skills, including food safety and customer service, as well as work experience.

About City Gateway

City Gateway (link opens in new window) is an East London charity working with young people, women and families to give them the skills, experience and qualifications they need to achieve their ambitions. Their role in the programme will be to provide young people with a 12-week employability programme, including digital skills and a work placement. This will extend to up to 20 weeks if they need English or Maths boosters. The programme will seek to place these young people in entry level positions, including apprenticeships in a wide range of sectors.

About First Rung

East-London charity, First Rung (link opens in new window), provides vocational training for young people who may have struggled at school and lack confidence. It helps supports them through apprenticeships which often lead to full-time employment. But it also helps them with skills such as how to write a CV, how to behave in an interview and how to present themselves online. Students receive wrap-around support and are provided with free breakfast and lunch at their training centres in Enfield and Brent. Their travel costs are also paid for, there is help with housing problems, and counselling is available.

About 2020 Change

2020 Change (link opens in new window) is a youth empowerment organisation renowned for helping young people realise their true potential and cultivate the right mindset to engage with today’s changing society. Based in Covent Garden, the group takes jobless youths aged 17-30 - from under-represented ethnic groups or with low socio-economic backgrounds - and makes them work-ready. They do this through their part-time 10-week “I Am Change” programme, which works on “mindset adjustment” and teaches corporate etiquette, mindfulness, financial literacy and digital skills as well as traditional CV and interview skills. The course includes TV and film workshops and they provide links to the creative industries through their Mentor Match Up programme.

About Resurgo

Resurgo (link opens in new window) is a Hammersmith-based employability charity, operating out of 12 centres, eight in London. This charity works annually with 700 Londoners, aged 16-24, who face serious barriers to work. Their six-week Spear Programme develops mindset, skills and attitude to enter employment, including building resilience and managing emotions. Trainees get a year of follow-on support and access to employment opportunities with corporate partners via Resurgo “hire me” events.