Primary school children are to be linked with supportive communities of volunteers from the world of work who can broaden their jobs horizons and boost their aspirations for the future.
The innovative programme is the first of its kind in the country to work with primary students in this way. An initial pilot is taking place in eight schools in Knowsley, an area chosen because of its good primary schools which service wards of significant deprivation.
Run by the national education charity Future First, the scheme will help each participating school to establish a supportive network of former students and volunteers who will return to the classroom to share their experiences of the working world with current pupils. Building on the charity’s already successful work in more than a thousand secondary schools and colleges across Britain, the programme will help primary schools for the first time to harness the time, talent and resource of their former students.
During this academic year, Future First will deliver a series of four workshops with Year 5 pupils, supported by alumni and volunteers in a range of jobs. Each session will be designed to broaden students’ aspirations about the opportunities available to them after school and will culminate with a visit to a local employer to see the world of work first hand.
Future First is calling for supporters of the schools to sign up and support the programme. Former students and friends of the school, including parents, grandparents and governors, are all encouraged to volunteer their support at http://www.futurefirst.org.uk/register. Volunteers can help the programme by participating in one or more workshops, sharing their experience of life after school with current pupils.
Future First believes every state school, primary and secondary, should be supported by an alumni community which can have a deep and sustained impact on current students’ aspirations and ideas about their futures. This programme will deliver that by ensuring children think about their career options early.
Future First Chief Executive Matt Lent said, “It’s hard for young children to understand the connection between their school studies and the world of work. The importance of engaging children early in their lives about life after school was demonstrated by the number of schools which applied to take part in this pilot.
“Our work in secondary schools has already shown that relatable role models can have an enormous positive influence on the confidence and motivation of young people. This new initiative will take these opportunities to primary pupils for the first time ensuring all children have the chance to succeed regardless of their background.”
Schools taking part are Plantation Primary School, Prescot Primary School, Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Primary School, Stockbridge Village Primary School, St Anne’s Catholic Primary School, St Mark’s Catholic Primary School, St Margaret Mary’s Catholic Junior School and St Michael and All Angels Primary School.