Barclays is the first company to be accredited under the Chartered Insurance Institute's (CII) Training Advisory Service.

The CII's service was the first training accreditation scheme to be sanctioned by the General Insurance Standards Council (GISC).

The accreditation means the GISC finds Barclays training standards acceptable.

The CII-accredited Barclays' in-house training scheme for its 4,000 call centre staff, after reviewing its training materials, benchmarking procedures and monitoring of in-house training courses.

The call centre staff work on payment protection insurance underwritten by Barclays Insurance Dublin.

CII director general Sandy Scott said: "This is a major development, not only for the CII and Barclays, but for the industry as a whole.

"We're seeing a definite trend towards higher standards, greater professionalism and competence in the workplace.

Barclays Insurance Dublin managing director Eamon Slevin said the company welcomed the creation of the GISC and was pleased to take part.

"[The GISC] introduces an objective test of competence and training activity and we're delighted to be the first company to achieve GISC accreditation via the CII," Slevin said.