The education charity Future First has been awarded a fourth round of Government money to extend its work improving the career ambition and employability skills of state school students in the North East.
Those in the region that will benefit from The Careers and Enterprise Company’s funding include Beacon Hill School and Sixth Form in Wallsend, and John Spence Community High School and St Thomas More RC Academy in North Shields.
Pupils will be linked with former students in work or higher education who can act as inspirational role models. The alumni volunteers will provide employability workshops, networking opportunities and advise on the skills needed to succeed in working life.
School staff will be trained how to successfully harness alumni experience and skills to support current students.
Future First’s vision is that every state school and college should be supported by a thriving, engaged community of former students who help schools do more for current students.
Its research shows that alumni can transform students’ motivation by acting as relatable role models grounded in the community, showing current students that ‘people like me’ can succeed.
The scheme aims to sign up 8,500 volunteer alumni in a diverse range of fields for assemblies and workshops, work experience and intensive world-at-work days that will broaden students’ work horizons and motivate them to engage in their own learning.
The charity’s chief executive, Matt Lent, said: “Students cannot be what they cannot see. It is essential to open students’ eyes to the breadth of work opportunities available.
“Alumni who have a similar background, perhaps even sat at the same desk, have a transformative effect in broadening the horizons and raising the aspirations of young people.”