Higher Apprenticeship

Compliance Higher Apprentice

Compliance Higher Apprentice

Application Information


  • Get started on a clear career path from junior to senior management
  • Learn the skills to work on intriguing investigations and surveillance
  • Balance academic study with a working role, keeping our bank safe

You might not know it yet, but Compliance is one of the most fascinating areas inside our bank. You’ll quickly discover that it’s not just about making sure our bank meets rules and regulations; it’s also about being trusted advisors, preventing risks for the bank and our customers. Spotting potential fraud across the nation. Looking at data and behaviour patterns to help financial crime agencies. In short, you’ll use data to keep our bank and customers safe, and find yourself a secure career path into the bargain. From Financial Crime Investigations to Trade Surveillance, we’ll train you in the skills you need – no experience necessary.

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What do we mean when we say Compliance?

If you don’t have any experience of Compliance, it’s likely you don’t have any idea what it means right now. Don’t worry - that’s fine for now. But to help you decide if this department is right for you, here are some of the basics of what we do:

Analysing data to make sure Barclays avoids risk and follows the legal rules of banking

Spotting suspicious or unusual behaviour and protecting customers by investigating financial crime

Investigating any suspicions of insider trading

Using surveillance to monitor for risky trading activity in the investment banking and eCommerce sector

Analysing data to make sure Barclays avoids risk and follows the legal rules of banking

Spotting suspicious or unusual behaviour and protecting customers by investigating financial crime

Investigating any suspicions of insider trading

Using surveillance to monitor for risky trading activity in the investment banking and eCommerce sector

The facts of the programme

An important note about the Compliance Apprenticeship

Whilst some of our apprentices in other areas have taken on one or two rotations in Compliance, the actual Compliance Apprenticeship is brand new for this year. With that in mind, much of the finer details aren’t set in stone yet. Not to worry though - they will be by the time you begin the course, when we’ll be able to tell you more definitely about the structure of the course. You can take what we’ve provided as a baseline for now, but what we can say for certain is that you’ll be studying for the International Certificate in Financial Services Risk Management, while taking on live work in Compliance roles. And of course, it goes without saying that you’ll have our full support along the way.  

What will I do?

There are all kinds of things you might do over the three years: you might become an expert on one project, or you might move through areas from eComms Surveillance to Analytics and Reporting. No matter where you end up though, there are some things we can say for sure:

First, your practical work for us will see you spend four years learning how Compliance works within our bank – and where it’s going in the future. You’ll learn to be investigative; to look at data and use it to create a picture of what’s happening in the financial world. We’ll train you in how to spot unusual trends in data that might uncover money laundering, for instance, and how to use past lessons to stop future customers from buying the wrong financial products for their needs.

At the same time, you’ll also be studying towards the International Certificate in Financial Services Risk Management from the Institute of Risk Management. With study leave and space to learn academically as well as professionally, you’ll balance your work and your degree, with help from mentors and managers.

Over your time on the programme, you might even take part in our impressive Compliance Career Academy – a programme providing thorough training in every aspect of Compliance. This amazing opportunity is offered in partnership with the business school arm of the University of Cambridge – and like everything we do, it’s open to Higher Apprentices of all ages, backgrounds and qualification levels.  

With all our programmes, colleagues are responsible for ensuring that all activities and duties are carried out in full compliance with regulatory requirements, Barclays Operational Risk Framework and internal Barclays Policies and Standards.

How will my programme be structured?

It all starts with an induction event attended by absolutely all Higher Apprentices, whichever programme you’re on, from Compliance to Agriculture.

From there, it’s three to four years of balanced practical work inside the bank and academic study towards vital qualifications. With the support of your managers, your colleagues and a dedicated buddy, you’ll sharpen your financial skills on all kinds of projects and in all kinds of roles.

Many of our Compliance Apprentices will move through different rotations, depending on what’s needed in the business. What do we mean by that? Well, it’s about getting to know a role in one department within Compliance, then moving on again to try something new with another team – building your skills, your interests, your contacts, and your understanding of Compliance as a whole.

The way our rotations work means it might be six months in one team and six months in another, or it might be that you stay with one team for a full year before moving on. Sometimes, you might even stay with one team for the entire programme. It’ll vary depending on our business needs and your interests.

You’ll become a qualified professional too, as you balance real work with academia, studying towards the International Certificate in Financial Services Risk Management.

In your first year of those studies, you’ll get an introduction to a range of subject areas, starting to build your skills. That includes an extensive range of introductory modules, including:

  • Risk Management
  • Credit Risk
  • Sanctioning
  • Business Support and Recoveries
  • Operational Risk
  • Fraud Risk
  • Financial Crime
  • Traded Market Risk
  • Non Traded Market Risk
  • Funding Risk
  • Risk Measurement
  • Risk Analytics

For the first two years, you’ll spend around 4-6 weeks per academic year at university – taken as one or two weeks study blocks, spaced throughout the year. You’ll also have a half day off per week for study leave, although you might work with your manager to structure that in a different way, depending on what suits you and your team best. For instance, you might take it as a full day every fortnight.

In your second year, you’ll start to broaden your understanding, looking in more depth at specific skills required within risk management, from risk response to assessing risk appetite. In your studies, your modules will include:

  • Concepts and definitions of risk and risk management
  • The global business environment
  • Risk Management Standard
  • Risk Strategy and framework
  • Enterprise Risk Management
  • Risk culture, conduct, appetite and tolerance
  • Risk Assessment 1 – Introduction and Identification
  • Risk and Organisations
  • Risk Assessment 2 – Risk Analysis and Evaluation
  • Risk Assurance and Reporting
  • The Commercial Environment
  • Risk Response and Treatment
  • Case Studies – Organisation Risk Management

Throughout your programme, there are various kinds of assessment we’ll use to help you test your skills and see your progress. Those include examinations, reviews with your manager, and then comes your final year.

Here, you’ll find your big chance to demonstrate everything you’ve learned. You’ll build your portfolio of work-based evidence, and you’ll work on a risk-based final project – all the while supported by your manager, tutor and team. Then at the end, you’ll have your professional presentation and discussion, led by Barclays and by an independent assessor – all of whom are there to help you do well.  

Who thrives here?

Anyone with a positive, ambitious frame of mind. You don’t need any experience – and in fact, we’re looking for people who don’t have it. We need imaginative people who won’t get caught up in ‘how we’ve always done it’ and who’ll help us think of new ways to better prevent risk for our bank and our customers.

What we’re looking for isn’t something you get from exams. It’s natural curiosity. The bravery to ask ‘Why are we doing this?’ when you don’t understand or when you don't think it’s the right approach. People keen to contribute fresh ideas in a welcoming environment. And of course, whether you’re straight out of school or coming back from retirement, anyone can have those traits, so anyone is welcome.

How will I develop?

There’s a perception sometimes that apprenticeships are just a quick flash in the pan; that there are no prospects to them. That couldn’t be further from the truth here.

The joy of the Compliance programme is that you’re learning skills in a highly regarded area, and one we all need. Compliance is an essential part of life all over our bank, so your future could be whatever you make of it.

As you move through different projects and perhaps through different rotations, you’ll get to know where your interests lie. Then we’ll support you to become an expert in that field, as far as we can. Maybe you’ll be a career investigator. Maybe you’ll become an expert in Financial Crime, or a Compliance Officer for front office teams like Barclaycard.

The point is, it’s all up to you, and there’s so much opportunity open to you. You might even take up a place on our Barclays Graduate programme, or aim for our internal Masters Apprenticeship. But whatever you do, you’ll develop the skills and the prospects you want, and you’ll see from the start that this is far more than just a one-off programme.  

Where will I be based?

You’ll be based in either London or Glasgow on the Compliance programme, and we’ll ask you to give your preference during application. We’ll also have to consider our business needs here, so if we need to, we’ll get in touch with you to talk about what’s available and what you’re happy with.

What are the key dates?

Early March: Applications open

Early May: Applications close

May: London assessment centres

May/June: Manchester assessment centres

June: All candidates notified of outcome

September: Higher Apprenticeships begin

Hear from someone who’s been there

Compliance needs creative thinkers who’ll ask challenging questions about the data in front of them. But you don’t have to have any experience to have that spark. Our apprentices come from all kinds of backgrounds. Time to meet one of them:

Meet Simon


Before I joined the Higher Apprenticeship, I really didn’t have any experience of Compliance at all; I hadn’t had any particular interest in it. I’d been working in a small telesales company, so in a completely different area.

To be honest, I hadn’t ever planned on going further in education either. I’d never found a subject where I’d thought, ‘Wow, I’m really into this,’ and I’d never been someone who enjoyed exams. Because of all that, school hadn’t totally suited me.

But then this chance came along with Barclays. I could see that with this combination of work and study, it would be building my practical knowledge as well as furthering my career. I could directly apply what I was learning to my working situation. And that made it much more appealing to come back to education.

From no experience and with no subject I really specialised in, I’ve been in Compliance for three and a half years now so you know it’s been a positive experience.

The progression I’ve seen in myself has been great. I’ve made contacts within the department. I’ve completed the programme and moved into a permanent role in Compliance. And on top of all that, I’ve graduated as what we call a BA5 manager, which within Barclays is quite a senior role.

My soft skills have absolutely come on in leaps and bounds too. Trying to balance work life and university was difficult at first, for instance, but I had the support to learn to manage it over the course of the programme. Now looking back, it’s such an achievement. The way I’m able to prioritise work now; that’s so valuable in my new permanent role.

From my perspective, your career path is yours; you make of it what you will. You aren’t spoon-fed or forced into any one path - there are lots of options there if you want to take advantage of them. There’s so much emphasis on internal mobility; scope to move about and develop yourself. I want to try as many things as possible and Barclays is open to that.

Simon, former Compliance Apprentice

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