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LifeSkills launches world's first work experience Pod at Lister Community School, East London

  • The LifeSkills Pod – the world’s first immersive work experience simulator - will give young people a taste of the ever-evolving workplace
  • At a time when there is a shortage of quality work experience opportunities in the UK, the LifeSkills Pod will give young people a chance to gain some of the 21st century skills needed to prepare them for their future careers
  • Hundreds of students will have the chance to experience the LifeSkills Pod when it is installed at Lister Community School (April 20th – 27th). Spoken word performer, and LifeSkills ambassador, George the Poet, attended launch.

      LifeSkills created with Barclays has unveiled the LifeSkills Pod, an immersive work experience simulator, at Lister Community School in East London. The first of its kind, the LifeSkills Pod aims to raise awareness of the evolving workplace, and provides a taste of some of the 21st century skills young people need to succeed in their future careers.


      Although young people understand the value of work experience – with 68% of young people agreeing that it helps build the skills needed for the future workplace[1] – there are not enough placements and opportunities available to meet this need. A recent study from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills found that whilst 66 per cent of employers believe work experience was valuable in recruiting young people, only 30 per cent actually offer it[2] LifeSkills claims more needs to be done to ensure that a range of creative and innovative work experience interventions are provided to young people to complement traditional work experience, actively helping them to understand and build the skills they need for their career.


      Simon Beck, Assistant Head Teacher, Lister Community School, comments: “Work experience is really important to businesses and young people, but there is a worrying shortfall of quality opportunities in the UK.  It is imperative that we prepare our young people for the world of work as it continues to evolve. We need to be creative and innovative in the ways we offer young people the chance to gain an insight into the workplace – ensuring there is a range of options available to meet different needs. We’re really excited that the LifeSkills Pod is here at the Lister Community School and we think our pupils will really benefit from the experience.”


      Kirstie Mackey, Head of LifeSkills at Barclays, comments: “We can’t predict jobs of the future but we can predict the skills that young people will need in an ever-changing workplace. In order to equip young people for the evolving world of work, LifeSkills believes that young people need to be given the opportunity to develop the core and transferable skills – 21st century skills – that employers are looking for now and in the future. We have started to incorporate skills such as problem solving, communication and resilience within the programme through experiences such as the LifeSkills Pod.  Against the backdrop of a lack of work experience opportunities we need to do even more to bridge the gap between education and work by providing a range of different experiences for young people such as the LifeSkills Pod launched today. ”

      About 21st Century Skills

      The world of work is evolving and it’s important that we ensure young people are equipped with the core and transferable skills that employers are looking for now and in the future.

      The 21st century skills that LifeSkills have identified for the LifeSkills Pod, include communication, problem solving, and resilience with the tasks also including networking and professionalism.


      LifeSkills ambassador, George the Poet, adds: “It’s really important that young people are given different opportunities that help them gain the transferrable skills needed for future work, especially as it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find quality work experience. The world of work is changing – so, more needs to be done to ensure that they are equipped with the skills that business are looking for to increase their appeal to employers.”

      About the LifeSkills Pod

      The tasks in the LifeSkills Pod are based on these core skills and will mimic those young people would come across in the evolving workplace, with briefings from an ‘employer’. Young people will be able to select the field of work they are interested in, before completing a series of interactive tasks.  Feedback will be given after each task, with a learning on why that skill is important. At the end of the experience, each user will receive overall feedback and a certificate. To mimic the time pressures of a real working environment, the tasks will be timed, with the experience taking 5-10 minutes.


      The interior of the LifeSkills Pod will includes a touch screen with which users can respond to the tasks, making it fun and engaging to use. A large LCD screen in front of them will display the tasks and the video briefings from the ‘employer’.


      Young people will be able to select the field of work they are interested in, before completing a series of interactive tasks focused on some of the core and transferable skills that employers are looking for now and in the future:

      • Networking – Understanding the roles of people within a business and working with a team
      • Communication – Understanding tone and communicating with clients/customers
      • Resilience and problem solving – Being able to work a way around an issue if not successful in the first instance
      • Professionalism – Sharing information about the experience on social media

      The LifeSkills Pod is the first in a series of innovative ways that young people will be helped to experience the future world of work. It will be installed exclusively at Lister Community School from 20th – 27th April, with 21st century skills  and the Pod content being released more widely through the LifeSkills website in coming months to help young people across the country take control of their future, and give teachers even more resources to inspire their students.


      [1] According to recent research by Barclays

      [2] UK Commission for Employment and Skills (2015)

Notes to editors

Younger people defined as male and female adults aged 19-24 years old. A nationally representative survey carried out by Mortar London amongst 1000 people.


LifeSkills is part of Barclays’ ongoing contribution to digital education and supports its quest to leave no one behind.


To date, more than 2.1million young people have participated in the LifeSkills programme


About LifeSkills created with Barclays

LifeSkills created with Barclays aims to ensure no young person is left behind by equipping them with the core 21st century skills needed for the work place both now and in the future, boosting our economy and supporting our society. 


LifeSkills brings together educators, businesses, young people and parents to achieve this, as increasingly young people need to leave education not only with appropriate academic results but with the skills that we know businesses need now and in the future as technology reshapes our working world. LifeSkills provides educators with more than 55 hours of free curriculum linked employability resources, through videos, quick fire activities, interactive tools and full lesson plans to teach young people, as well as dozens of interactive tools for young people to learn in their own time or in conjunction with their parents through our dedicated parents section.  LifeSkills also helps to improve access to work experience opportunities, traineeships and apprenticeships to give them the key skills and experience through businesses across the UK. 


For further information about LifeSkills visit @YourLifeSkills

About Barclays

Barclays is a transatlantic consumer, corporate and investment bank offering products and services across personal, corporate and investment banking, credit cards and wealth management, with a strong presence in our two home markets of the UK and the US.

With over 325 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 40 countries and employs approximately 130,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

For further information about Barclays, please visit our website .