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Finding Community and Opportunity in the Face of Adversity

Josh tells us about his journey as a Barclays apprentice.

The sense of community at Barclays is immense. Here, everyone cheers each other on – both in our professional and personal lives. This really stood out to me when I was exploring apprenticeship opportunities, so I was thrilled to join the Barclays Digital team in 2019 as an Apprentice Service Operations Analyst. 

From my very first day, my colleagues were right by my side, helping me get to grips with my new role, new surroundings and the Barclays support networks – like the Group Dyslexia Forum. I can honestly say I’ve felt supported and included every single day at Barclays, so when we transitioned to temporarily working from home, I had no doubt this would continue. 

Coming Together as One Team 

Since I’ve been based at home, the support I’ve received has been exceptional – from daily calls that encourage collaborative working to constant reminders of the pastoral support available. But Barclays have taken it further than the communications you’d expect. In May, during Mental Health Awareness Week, Barclays hosted a virtual event where our senior leaders and external speakers discussed how we can continue building a supportive and inclusive culture during challenging times. They spoke about what working life could look like in 10 years and gave practical advice for looking after our mental wellbeing, while abiding by social distancing. It was inspiring to be challenged to think beyond the realms of possibility in our ways of working – to see how we could turn adversity into opportunity. 

The panellists also spoke about what support really means, and how it isn’t all about offering to help with a colleague’s workload. Instead, they explained that support has a deeper connection to health and wellbeing, and that by asking open-ended questions you can find out what type of support is needed. This led me to consider how I have supported others and played my part in developing Barclays’ inclusive culture. I began to think: what else I could do? 

Helping to Create a Supportive and Inclusive Culture 

I’m proud to be the Dyslexia Champion at our Radbroke Technology Centre; a role where I’m able to use my experience to help others. Recently, a senior colleague who had just been diagnosed with dyslexia reached out to me. I was able to provide some much-needed context and support during a period of uncertainty, as they learned how their dyslexia may have impacted them throughout life. I coached them through their diagnosis and encouraged them to celebrate everything they’d achieved, including climbing the Barclays career ladder, all while facing adversity – and not even knowing it.  

Starting my career, I was apprehensive about how my diagnosis would impact my work. Instead, by providing a global platform that normalises dyslexia, Barclays has shown me that my unique perspective will only elevate my career – and I’m so glad to say they were right. The Group Dyslexia Forum is still in its infancy, but this means we can only grow from here. Soon, we hope to launch a monthly support seminar to help our members but also educate others at Barclays. And, I’m thrilled to say that the forum was nominated for the Barclays Citizenship and Diversity Award. I can’t wait to help even more colleagues in the future. 

Making my Mark and Giving Back 

In less than a year, my Barclays career has led me down many paths and I’ve learnt a lot on the way. But I wanted to make my mark and do more to help my colleagues. That’s when I discovered the Radbroke centre used to house bees. At home, I’m an avid beekeeper and I knew I could bring my knowledge onsite to revive this network. The network has brought together colleagues from across the business, so we aren’t only getting involved in a transformative hobby, but we’ll make many new connections along the way. I hope that these social relationships will help us all in our careers too, in the most unexpected of ways. 

It’s safe to say that my career at Barclays has given me a plethora of opportunities in an ever-growing supportive environment. Here, you don’t just join a bank, you become part of a community that puts your best interests at heart. 

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