Case study: training colleagues to become digitally savvy at Barclays

by Jul 5, 2018Case studies

In recognition of a changing digital environment, Barclays UK aimed to support colleagues to become the ‘most digitally savvy and inclusive workforce in the UK’ as well as ensuring that customers and communities were not ‘left behind’. What started as an internally focused reskilling programme has since become an internationally renowned training platform and online resource tool for thousands.
Barclays Bank PLC
Date 2017
Region South West
Size 1,000+ employees
Sector Banking

fully trained Digital Eagles

of UK staff on Digital Wings training

organisations now using Digital Wings

target of registered users

The need for digital skills in the banking sector was vital

From 2014 onwards, it was clear banking customer needs were changing – more people than ever before were requesting help with online banking, which local branch colleagues at the time not were equipped to provide support on.

In response to this, Barclays made the bold commitment to support their colleagues to become the most digitally savvy and inclusive workforce in the UK’ and ensure customers and communities were not ‘left behind’ by this new digital age.

Explaining the initial rationale, Steve Lowe, Academy Programme Manager at Barclays UK said ‘As a bank, we have moved very much to digital services and solutions. The typical role of a cashier behind a desk has been migrated out. The problem was that our colleagues didn’t necessarily have all the right knowledge or the confidence to advise customers’.

Skilling up colleagues was the first priority

Barclays was driven by a recognition that a knowledgeable and confident workforce would be better equipped to help educate and support their customers to do the same. As a first step, the Digital Eagles were born – local champions within Barclays tasked with advocating digital skills within the workforce. According to Steve, ‘Digital Eagles were established to reach out to customers and colleagues and educate them as experts in all things digital’.

However it was clear that a more sustainable method of training was required in order to reach all colleagues in need. ‘One of the challenges was really the scope – we have 20,000 frontline colleagues who all need some sort of level of upskilling. So we created a programme called Digital Wings for colleagues to upskill and do so in their own time’, Steve said.

Digital Wings is a tailored, City & Guilds accredited online learning course, teaching colleagues new competencies around digitisation and the internet. The training is constantly evaluated and updated to reflect changing skills needs and to future proof the programme.  Most recently, this has meant the development of new modules on cyber security and even coding.  

Take up amongst colleagues has been extensive and continues to grow. There are currently 18,000 Digital Eagles and 55,000 learners within Barclays, which means that just over a third of the whole UK workforce is currently signed up to the Digital Wings online course.

‘One of the challenges was really the scope – we have 20,000 frontline colleagues who all need some sort of level of up skilling. So we created a programme called Digital Wings for colleagues to up skill and do so in their own time.’

Steve Lowe, Academy Programme Manager at Barclays UK

Big plans for the future of the programme

At Barclays UK, its massive transformational purpose over the past few years has led it to being known as ‘the Digital Bank’. This unique programme addressed a real skills need at the right time, which is why it has achieved such mass take up internally and externally, with the likes of Google, Microsoft and the BBC all now sponsors of the programme.

Summing up the training’s aim, Steve said: ‘It is about moving all of your colleagues and your customers through significant change, building confidence and enthusiasm as you progress.’

Through the white labelling of their technology, the training has the potential to reach a much wider audience, however Barclays remains focused on the internal benefit of the programme and the opportunities it can provide to Barclays’ employees. ‘It’s about making sure we are delivering a rewarding experience and keeping colleagues engaged and developed which is ultimately good for our customers,’ said Steve. However, with a commitment of 17,000 new registrations this year and an overall target of reaching one million registered users, plans for the future of the programme are as ambitious as ever.

Spreading their wings

With the initiative an obvious success internally, in 2015, Barclays launched it externally to share best practice amongst other businesses and the public. On expanding the programme, Steve said ‘Externally it’s always been seen as a shared growth initiative as part of our citizenship agenda = hearing back from customers first hand, they were also looking for something like this’.

With the training addressing everything from keeping safe online to providing general digital awareness, the content was not necessarily Barclays specific and could therefore be used to support thousands of people with improving their digital skills.  The programme has been particularly valuable to small businesses. ‘We work with other organisations with a similar need to upskill their colleagues but don’t necessarily have the resources or know how to set something up like this,’ said Steve. ‘So we have made it completely adoptable by other organisations’.

Today 180 organisations and approximately 45,000 external users are using this training in some shape or form, across all sectors from large corporates, to charities and the public sector. ‘We have recently white labelled as well which means we are allowing them to have their own branded platform so it really resonates within their own local organisation’ said Steve.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

Case study: prioritising talent to open up opportunities to women at Amey

This leading infrastructure services and engineering company identified the Women@Amey network to attract and retain women in a male-dominated industry. Amey PlcYear awarded 2023Region LondonSize 1000+ employeesSector Construction and engineering“A great opportunity...

Case study: home-growing future managers through exceptional training opportunities at Red Carnation Hotels

This collection of family-run hotels achieved an Award in 2017 and went on to gain a revalidation in 2020. Since then it has further developed its Graduate Management programme with 53 participants commencing the training in the 3 years following, leading to the...

Case Study: using training to benefit people and the planet at Fifty Shades Greener

This small company which educates organisations on how to reduce their carbon footprint through changing their behaviours showcases its own commitment to learning through its tailored employee induction programme. Green Skills for Life is central to the training,...

Case study: the meaningful impact of receiving an Award on MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology)

In this video, Amy Atkins from 2022 recipient MOLA, talks about the meaningful impact of receiving a Princess Royal Training Award.

Celebrating the very best training and development programmes in the UK and Ireland

Last week, 53 recipients from the UK and Ireland were warmly welcomed to St James’s Palace, in London, to receive their Princess Royal Training Award from Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal. Now in their eighth year, the Princess Royal Training Awards were set up...

Celebrating the impact of learning and development

At the heart of City & Guilds is our purpose which has skills development deep rooted in it. And through the Foundation one of our jobs is to celebrate where really great skills development is happening, and an example of how we do that is our Princess Royal Training Award programme.

Princess Royal Training Awards 2023 Recipients: in the press

Here is a roundup of the media coverage following the announcement of the 2023 Princess Royal Training Awards recipients. National news FE News:...

53 Princess Royal Training Awards across UK and Ireland for achieving positive impact through skills development

HRH The Princess Royal, President of the City and Guilds of London Institute, has approved 53 Awards to a range of organisations across the UK and Ireland, for their outstanding training and skills development programmes, all of which have shown a significant positive...

Belfast Met: The Ripple Effect of receiving a Princess Royal Training Award

Rebecca Roberts shares how achieving an award helped move Health and Wellbeing higher up Belfast Met’s agenda.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This