Cambridgeshire schools put students’ Future First

Thousands of Cambridgeshire school students are to benefit from prestigious funding to inspire them to achieve their dream job.

Twenty state secondary schools and colleges across the county are being urged to sign up with the international education charity Future First which will help them harness the time, talent and support former students can offer current students.

The charity’s wide-reaching programme has been given an additional £10,000 grant by the top legal firm Taylor Wessing, which has an office in Cambridge, enabling Future First to offer its service to participating schools free for a year.

Future First already works in more than 500 schools and colleges nationwide, including five in the Cambridge area. It’s now calling on further secondary schools and colleges to sign up to its programme so that they can stay connected with both recent school leavers and those in established careers.

Alumni can support current students in a number of ways - as career and education role models, mentors or e-mentors, work experience providers, governors, fundraisers and donors.

More than 34,500 former students across Britain have already signed up to Future First’s programme. For the first time, state schools and colleges can utilise the professional expertise former students can share in the same way many private schools and universities have done for generations.

Future First’s research shows that nearly 70 per cent of 16 to 19-year-olds think it will be hard to get a good job when they leave school. Yet ten million adults are willing to return to their old school or college to support current students.

“More than 39 per cent of state school or college students don’t know anyone in a job they’d like to do,” said Alex Shapland-Howes, Managing Director of Future First. “If they see that someone who went to the same school, grew up in the same community, has achieved a fulfilling and satisfying job, it helps them see it’s possible for them too. It’s really important for all students to be motivated to succeed in the working world and hearing first hand from relatable people in interesting jobs can make a huge difference.”

Sarah Le Cheminant, Head of Social Responsibility at Taylor Wessing, said, “Aspiration and the promotion of talent are synonymous with the values close to the heart of Taylor Wessing. We are committed to advancing social mobility. In partnership with Future First, we are able to use the expertise of Taylor Wessing’s workforce in a way that both harnesses our employees’ skills in communication and leadership, and brings tangible benefits to many young people in the form of raised confidence and pathways to employment.”

Teachers interested in signing up their school or college to Future First’salumni programme can visit www.futurefirst.org.uk and click on the “schools and colleges staff” link to register their request.

People wishing to support their former school should visitwww.futurefirst.org.uk and click on the “former students” link. For further information about Future First, log ontowww.futurefirst.org.uk. Alternatively contact our Press and Publicity Officer, Sue Crabtree on sue@futurefirst.org.uk, our Programme Director Megan Clatworthy on megan@futurefirst.org.uk, or call one of the team on 0207-239-8933.