From education to employment

250,000 former students offer careers support at state schools

Justin Smith, Future First Chief Executive Officer.

The national education charity Future First has appointed a new Chief Executive Officer; Justin Smith will lead the charity as a quarter of a million former students have signed up to broaden the work horizons of current students at their old state school or college.

Justin said, ‘250,000 signed to Future First is a huge army of people contributing to the social change agenda, but we have to be far more ambitious. Ex-students working in alumni associations create an excellent opportunity for the school community to come together and have lasting impact on young people’s life chances. I want all schools to provide a clear pathway from the classroom to the workplace with local role-models providing the inspiration.’

Justin brings a successful history in education enabling social mobility through educational achievement. He joins the charity as it reaches the milestone of 250,000 former state school students registered to volunteer careers support at their former school or college by taking part in workshops and assemblies designed to inspire current students to career confidence and academic success.

The charity has helped more than a thousand UK state schools and colleges to harness the wealth of talent and experience of former students who return to the classroom as relatable role models to talk about their career paths and the skills needed to succeed in work.

Research by Future First has revealed the extent to which young people in Britain worry about their future career with 65% of 15-year-olds saying they have worried about what job they will do as an adult. [1] The polling also showed that 75% of 15-year-olds, the age many sit GCSEs, 77% of 11-year-olds and 69% of six-year-olds felt it would be helpful to meet former students who could talk about their jobs and career pathways after school and help broaden young people’s jobs horizons. But state school teachers are far less likely to harness the talents of alumni to motivate and inspire current students with 77% of private secondary school teachers using alumni as relatable role models for current students compared with just 47% of state secondary school teachers. [2]

Robert Clack School in Dagenham has worked with Future First for more than five years and runs regular in-school events involving alumni. Ellen Monk, Alumni Engagement Officer at Robert Clack School said,’ We now have 1500 of our former students registered to support the current generation as relatable role models sharing a common background with today’s students.  Our work takes place across the whole school and has become an important part of helping students make informed decisions about their future careers.  Our dedicated alumni volunteers also provide opportunities for our students that they would not otherwise have.’

[1] YouGov polll . Total sample size was 1136 children. Fieldwork was undertaken between 21st – 26th June 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB children (aged 6 – 15)

[2] Teacher Tapp. 21 05 2019 . Total sample size was 2,787 teachers and 1,136 young people between 6 and 15. The survey was carried out online.

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