At London Southbank’s Skate Park, Fabrice Muamba, ex-Barclays Premier League football player, Matthew Hancock MP, Skills and Enterprise Minister, and LifeSkills Young Ambassadors jumped on their bikes to celebrate one year of LifeSkills created with Barclays and unveil new branding for London’s Barclays Cycle Hire.
The new livery will be introduced across much of the bike network as part of a planned refresh and will mark the one-year anniversary of the hugely successful LifeSkills, created with Barclays, programme aiming to encourage more young people, teachers and businesses to take part. The education programme has already helped 410,000 young people to gain the skills and experience they need to transition into work. It aims to reach one million young people by 2015 via free, curriculum-linked resources for teachers, online content for young people and by matching them to local work experience opportunities. LifeSkills also gives free support to businesses to provide work experience placements, traineeships or apprenticeships for young people in their local area.
Fabrice Muamba said: “I’ve always been a big fan of London’s Barclays Cycle Hire bikes; it’s fantastic that they are now being used to raise awareness of LifeSkills. Since I had to retire from football, I’ve had to go back to the start with my career and learn a completely new set of skills, so appreciate how tough it can be when looking to enter the world of work. I hope this rebrand will help more people find out about LifeSkills and get involved.”
To coincide with its one year anniversary, LifeSkills commissioned The Work Foundation, a leading independent research body, to assess the impact of the programme on young people. The findings praised the programme and its positive effect. It also found teachers were keen to use the resources, volunteer support and the work experience matching portal. Overall, it found an increased sense of hope, enthusiasm and optimism in the young people who have taken part. Specific findings include*:
- Nearly nine in ten of young people felt that LifeSkills had helped them with social skills including handling new situations and people more confidently.
- Over eight in ten said that LifeSkills helped them to understand the sector or industry they would like to work in.
- Teachers have so far booked over 700 LifeSkills workshops.
Matthew Hancock MP, Minister for Skills & Enterprise said: “I know that young people are highly motivated and hungry for work but sometimes they need support in gaining the skills businesses need. Exposure to real employers is critically important for young people to make successful transitions from education to employment. Businesses have a vital role to play and I hope the LifeSkills bikes will encourage more to get involved. It’s great to see LifeSkills, created with Barclays, celebrate its first anniversary.”
Kirstie Mackey, Head of LifeSkills at Barclays said: “Helping the next generation get into gear for their future is vitally important to every business and our society as a whole. We’re incredibly proud of the fact that we’ve helped 410,000 young people in just one year, and that over half of all secondary school in the UK have signed up to LifeSkills. We hope that the LifeSkills bikes will encourage even more young people, businesses and teachers to sign up and help transform the opportunities available to the next generation. I can’t wait to see what the next year will bring for the programme.”
So far, 5,142 schools and institutions have signed up to use the LifeSkills programme, alongside businesses from ISS to West Ham who have been offering work experience.
The Barclays Cycle Hire scheme, which was introduced to the capital in 2010, recently celebrated its 30 millionth journey. It has become the second largest cycle hire scheme in Europe, with over 10,000 LifeSkills bikes across London and over 19,000 docking points available.