AF Blakemore and Barclays join forces to develop future talent


Eight future business leaders have collaborated on an innovative development programme that seeks to enhance their skills by supporting two West Midlands based start-up companies.

The joint programme has been developed by AF Blakemore & Son Ltd alongside Barclays Corporate Banking, as part of an ongoing business partnership between the two organisations.

Each company identified four recent graduate and apprenticeship recruits to work together on a collaborative Business Presentation Skills Programme, hosted at the Barclays Eagle Lab at iCentrum.

The three-day programme culminated in the group delivering two presentations to two Barclays small business clients in relation to a specific commercial challenge that they are currently facing.

Graduate recruits Jordan Betts, Sammy Paul, Rachel Adams and Mohammed Asif represented A.F. Blakemore on the programme, with Rebekah Taitt, Margaret Adenekan, Yoje Kikanke and Chloe Handscombe comprising the Barclays contingent.

Delegates participated in a presentation skills course before representatives from online food and drink guide Dine and entrepreneurial skills provider Enploy shared their business plans and ambitions for future growth.

The group then split into two teams with representatives from Barclays and AF Blakemore working together to develop joint business presentations to address some of the issues and opportunities raised.

AF Blakemore director of corporate affairs Paul Cowley said: “This pilot programme is a great example of how two longstanding business partners can work together to develop their future talent by harnessing their insights to support smaller entrepreneurial firms across the region.

“The programme has helped develop the presentation, business planning, networking and team building skills of our graduate recruits and also allowed them to understand how other businesses operate.

“The feedback from the delegates has been great and they have undoubtedly enjoyed collaborating with one another in support of the two start-up businesses. Hopefully this will be the first of many such programmes between ourselves and the team at Barclays.”

Barclays relationship director Jim Quantrill, who initiated and helped design the programme, said:  “This initiative is borne out of a very strong working relationship between AF Blakemore and Barclays, and given a strong alignment of values within our organisations, with a real focus on developing talent and partnerships in the community and with our customers.

“I am personally delighted that this innovative event has been such a great success and bodes well for future plans together.”

The event was also attended by West Midlands Member of European Parliament Neena Gill CBE, who also visited the Barclays Eagle Lab.

She said: “This is a great initiative to support start-ups in the region. The West Midlands has a lot of innovation, talent and ambition so this is why it is important that this is driven forward with key supporting tools to be able to showcase the skills of the West Midlands.

“The Eagle Lab is an impressive space and I look forward to seeing many start-ups succeed.’’