Volunteers wanted to bring their jobs to school

Would you like to help inspire young people and give them a valuable insight into their future careers? An initiative which brings employees into the classroom to talk about their jobs, is seeking more volunteers in Gloucestershire.

Inspiring the Future is a free service in which employees from any sector or profession can volunteer to go into their local state secondary schools and colleges to talk about their work, their career paths and the education routes they took.

This national initiative is a year old and so far nearly 2,000 schools have signed up. It was launched by the charity the Education and Employers Taskforce, and is supported by the UK’s main teacher and employer organisations.

Anyone from a chief executive to an apprentice can volunteer to visit schools and registration is free for both volunteers and state schools or colleges. Companies can also sign up to the scheme. Inspiring the Future is also announcing a new partnership with the National Apprenticeship Service to get current and former apprentices into schools and colleges to talk with young people.

The initiative’s website www.inspiringthefuture.org offers a secure service, matching employee volunteers with schools and colleges. Volunteers agree to make just one visit a year to a local school or college, and to spend an hour talking to students about their job.

Inspiring the Future is demonstrating real benefits not only to young people, but also to employee volunteers and their employers. Giving talks to pupils offers employees excellent personal development opportunities, while it gives employers a good way of supporting corporate social responsibility and long-term recruitment objectives.

In a 2012 survey of 466 classroom teachers in state schools by the Times Educational Supplement, 80% said it is very important for young people to hear directly from employers about jobs and careers.

David Owen, Chief Executive of GFirst, Gloucestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership welcomed Inspiring the Future. The LEP runs the Growing Gloucestershire campaign, which works closely with education and business to identify skill needs and to help young people gain those skills. “By encouraging employers to go into schools and talk to pupils about career paths, apprenticeships and job opportunities, young people in Gloucestershire can be enthused to follow a vocation they would otherwise be not aware of,” said Mr Owen. “This has worked particularly well with our project, encouraging young people to follow a career in engineering by getting them interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths at school. These activities also help educationalists understand how the curriculum can best equip young people for the business world.”

Stroud High School has been working in partnership with South Gloucestershire and Stroud College to arrange ‘lunchtime lectures’ for year 11 and 12 students, where local professionals – everyone from lawyers to nurses - come in and talk to students about their jobs. The school has also signed up to the Inspiring the Future campaign. Deputy Head Cindi Pride said: “We have found that talking to real people face-to-face about real jobs is the most effective way of inspiring our girls about their own futures. Hopefully Inspiring the Future will attract more volunteers across a whole range of careers so that all Gloucestershire schools can benefit.”

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