Watch a film on Cat Deeley's Visit to Building Young Futures

Set up in 2008, Building Young Futures is an award-winning partnership between Barclays and Unicef. Our shared goal is to help tackle youth unemployment by enabling disadvantaged young people, between the ages of 15 and 25, to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to set up their own small business or find a job.

In 2012 Barclays extended the partnership for three years. Between 2012 and 2015 the partnership aims to directly benefit 74,000 young people across six countries: Brazil, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Uganda and Zambia.

Worldwide, almost 290 million young people are not working – almost a quarter of the planet’s youth. Building Young Futures is ambitious and determined to bring real and positive change to the lives and livelihoods of some of the most vulnerable young people. We provide them with in-depth financial and enterprise skills training, career guidance, mentoring and work placements. The partnership is also working with national and local governments to influence policies that will unlock resources and support, benefitting many more young people both now and over the long term.

Derrick Photo

This is 22 year old Derrick Katolo who set up a chicken business in Zambia after attending Building Young Futures training. "I want to expand my poultry farm. And I want to employ other guys."

About Building Young Futures and Barclays

Building Young Futures is part of 5 Million Young Futures, which is a commitment that Barclays has made to help 5 million disadvantaged young people, by 2015, develop the skills they need to fulfil their potential. It is also part of Barclays’ wider aim to help people achieve their ambitions – in the right way.

Barclays invested a total of £5m in the first phase of the programme along with more than 3,500 hours of Barclays employee time to help deliver the projects. By 2015, Barclays' renewed commitment will see a further £5m invested in the programme. As well as making a financial investment, Barclays provides financial and business expertise, and the knowledge, time and skills of its employees.

Antony Jenkins, Barclays Group Chief Executive says: “Building Young Futures helps young people to become active participants in their local economies. Barclays’ aspiration is to be the ‘Go-To’ bank and this means being a force for good wherever we operate, committed to the enhanced prosperity of individuals, businesses and communities. This is exactly what Building Young Futures is all about.

Why is Unicef working on this issue?

Unicef is the world’s leading organisation working for children and their rights. Unicef recognises that adolescence is a pivotal time in the life of a child – the gateway to adulthood. It is a critical window of opportunity to influence a child’s development and progress. Building Young Futures addresses this, investing extensive knowledge and support to help ensure young people can mature into financially secure adults.

Cat Deeley Visits Building Young Futures in India

In September 2013 Unicef UK Ambassador and global TV personality, Cat Deeley travelled to India to witness how young women’s futures are being transformed by the Barclays and Unicef Building Young Futures programme, locally known as Deepshikha. The programme, teaches young women that they are equal to men,whilst providing them with the skills they need to overcome the daily challenges and become strong, financially independent women.

Cat Deeley explained how the progamme is aiming to build a more equitable future for young women in India: "To create change, you must take on the future, and that is exactly what Unicef and Barclays are doing. The disparity between girls and boys in India is unbelievable. But with Unicef and Barclays sharing their expertise, the impact Building Young Futures is making is clear to see. The business element is great, it gives them [these women] financial freedom, money buys you freedom and a future. With this hope and support, these women will achieve great things. My message to Barclays and Unicef is that we couldn't do it without you. It's as simple as that. By using all your knowledge, your time, and your intelligence we are really making a difference.”

Meet the young people from Building Young Futures

In November 2013 Unicef UK and Barclays launched a blog site and study to track the lives of up to 60 disadvantaged, unemployed young people from across the world, over the next two years. The young people are receiving training and mentoring through the Building Young Futures programme.

The stories of the young people taking part in the study – from Brazil, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Uganda and Zambia – feature on our Building Young Futures blog. Through a combination of their own blogs and interviews with researchers, this sample of young people who are at the start of their journeys on the Building Young Futures programme will share their experiences, the challenges they face, and their achievements. The first blogs give an insight into their lives as they embark on the programme, highlighting the harsh reality of their lives, the challenges of finding work, and sharing their dreams and current aspirations for the future.

Read more about the Barclays/UNICEF Building Young Futures partnership

This is Isabel, who took part in the Building Young Futures programme in Zambia. Isabel says the skills she learnt have enabled her to expand her tailoring business to a team of three people.  © UNICEF/F.Palacio
This is Isabel, who took part in the Building Young Futures programme in Zambia. Isabel says the skills she learnt have enabled her to expand her tailoring business to a team of three people. © UNICEF/F.Palacio