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. 

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:

The associated 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 up to 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.

The first charity partner announced today is Springboard.  They will support young people into jobs in the hospitality industry (hotels, restaurants, bars, leisure and tourism) via a 3-6 week programme. This will include one-to-one mentoring, soft skills and employability development (confidence, work attitude, CV building, interview practice, time management), practical industry and hard skills training, including food safety and customer service, as well as access to work experience placements. More partner charities will be announced in due course.

How can you help?

The more money we raise, the more young people we can skill up. To donate online:

How can you get support to Skill Up?

If you are aged 16-24 and want to upskill towards a job in hospitality, contact Springboard at: 

For tools, tips and learning resources visit

Youth unemployment in London has soared by 55% to 105,000 since the start of the pandemic, meaning that 21% of 16 to 24-year-olds are jobless at a time of record job vacancies of 1.17 million countrywide. This mismatch, caused largely by an employability skills and experience gap, is leading to wasted lives and billions of pounds of lost productivity for our economy.

About Springboard

Central London-based Springboard 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 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.