Finding Community and Opportunity in the Face of Adversity
Josh tells us about his journey as a Barclays apprentice.
Posted 6 months ago
When Mohamed left school, he wasn’t sure what his future would hold. Now, he’s completed a degree and had eight years working in a role he loves. Here, he tells us about his journey from school-leaver to Trade Originator.
I went straight into my first job after leaving school with five GCSEs. This was a no-brainer for me as I needed to start earning to support my family, but I still wanted to get qualified. I took a position as a Sales Consultant at my local gym where I’d get the best of both worlds – qualifications and on-the-job training. I really enjoyed teaching swimming and studying to become a fitness instructor, but I felt like something was missing.
I started to take on mentoring and charity work to give me a new sense of purpose. I just knew I needed to take this further – to make a greater impact. Then, one day in the gym, I met someone who worked at Barclays. I was amazed by their energy and enthusiasm as we spoke about their role. I wanted to know more, so I did my research and learnt about the Barclays apprenticeship programmes. I just knew this was the company for me, and that’s where it all started.
Support for New Ideas
Over the course of my apprenticeship, it was clear that senior colleagues really valued my opinions and ideas. As an example, I had an idea around contactless ATM interactions, which could help customers and reduce the number of fraud cases that were happening at the time. The idea came to me during my training; I’d been carrying out a case study on how we could implement change, and I was inspired.
On one of my study days at our head office in Canary Wharf, I decided it was time to share my idea. I found the right person’s office, knocked on his door and asked if I could have five minutes of his time to explain my thinking. He listened, liked the concept, and put me in touch with people in his team, as well as assigning me the task of completing the market research and gathering data.
Being part of this project really added to my confidence. I felt like I was speaking up, doing something good, and I had the support of the company behind me. I walked away from it proud that I hadn’t just kept the idea to myself; that I’d approached someone senior in the company and he’d really taken the time to listen. He heard me out and made me part of the journey, building on the idea and taking it to the next level.
I came into the UK as a refugee, and my parent’s journey into becoming citizens wasn’t an easy one. From my experience, people tend to have a lot of unconscious biases, but joining the Barclays apprenticeship gave me the support I needed to overcome some of the challenges and stigmas – and helped me progress professionally as well. People rely on me here and I feel accepted.
In my personal journey, joining a well-established organisation like Barclays has really helped me build solid foundations. Getting my training; getting my degree; getting this level of exposure across the business; gaining confidence; following the bank’s values and living them internally – it’s all put me in such good stead.
Making a Difference, Every Day
Someone once said to me that what you put into this company is what you get out of it, and that stuck with me. It’s helped me focus on making a difference every day for our customers and I feel like I’m supported in return. When you join as an apprentice, you’re part of a safe, secure organisation full of good people, where you’ll be rewarded and recognised for your work.
I wish I’d come across the Barclays apprenticeship programmes sooner. I’d knocked on various doors beforehand, but none of them had been quite right. I found Barclays and something just clicked. From taking on the structured development programme to working alongside industry experts, I had all I’d need to turn this opportunity into a long-term career. I’m proud to say I did just that, and it wasn’t long before I started to play my part in helping customers across the globe. I’ve kept this with me throughout my Barclays career and I can’t wait to see what my future will hold.