Future First helps budding lawyers with careers insight

Matt Lent CEO of Future First

Young people interested in a career in law have the chance to gain careers insight and work experience at a leading legal firm under a programme designed to improve social mobility. The national education charity Future First has partnered with Taylor Wessing to offer a programme for 80 sixth form students from London schools which will improve their aspiration and confidence and boost their job readiness and employability. The students joined Taylor Wessing staff for insight days designed to inform them about what to expect from a career in law and the skills needed to succeed in it. Those who showed ability were linked with a Taylor Wessing mentor who worked with them more closely over three months. Students who impress on the mentoring scheme will now progress onto Taylor Wessing’s Tomorrow’s Talent programme which provides students with meaningful work experience, client insight and support to apply for education or employment opportunities in future.   Future First’s programme aims to provide Taylor Wessing with a diverse pipeline of entrants into law. It also gives the firm’s staff the opportunity to develop their skills in volunteering with young people who would not normally expect to encounter such prospects. Students attending insight days came from Eastbrook School in Dagenham, Hayes School, Canons High School in Edgware, Woodhouse College in Finchley, The UCL Academy in Camden, The London Academy in Edgware and Carshalton High School for Girls. Future First connects employers and pupils Taylor Wessing is one of several employers working with Future First to connect their employees with motivated young people in need of role models in the world of work.  Current employer partnerships include The Wellcome Trust, Ashurst LLP, KPMG and Rothschild. Future First/YouGov polling shows that 70 per cent of 16 to 19-year-olds think it will be hard to get a job when they leave school or college and 39 per cent don’t know anyone in a job they would like to do. Future First Chief Executive Officer Matt Lent said, ‘Young people cannot be what they cannot see. It is vital to open young people’s eyes to a world beyond their own and broaden their jobs horizons. Our Taylor Wessing partnership will enable students who aspire to a career in the legal sector to achieve what may otherwise have been impossible.’ Dan Harris, Taylor Wessing’s Diversity, Inclusion and Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, said ‘Our long-standing partnership with Future First targets young people in state education, enabling them to reach their full potential. Our partnership is an example of how embedding a relationship makes a big difference to our local community, our people and our clients. The varied backgrounds of our volunteers help to show there is no ‘right’ background and that anyone can pursue their ambition with some guidance and encouragement.’ For further information see the Future First website or call 0207 239 8933.

Students taste life in the food industry with Future First

Future First take students to The Flava People factory

School students interested in a career in food are taking part in a programme to demonstrate the breadth of jobs available in the industry and increase their work skills. National education charity Future First has partnered with The Flava People, who supply the UK’s leading retailers, restaurants and food manufacturers with sauces and seasonings, to inform state school students about the skills necessary to succeed in the food and hospitality industry. Under the scheme, The Flava People will welcome Year 11 students from two Manchester state schools, Burnage Academy for Boys and Sale Grammar School to its Sharston factory to see the production line first hand, benefit from the experience of staff and learn the skills they need to be successful in work.  The insight days will help students understand the wide range of careers available in the food industry and the study routes students should choose to pursue specific roles. The project forms part of The Flava People’s ‘Flavour to Fuel change’ commitment to promote the industry in higher education and to support Manchester’s young people while providing a future diverse pipeline of young people coming into the industry. The Flava People is one of several leading employers working with Future First to connect their employees with young people in schools and colleges. The link between schools and employers enables students to broaden their horizons and boost their confidence, motivation and knowledge about career pathways.  Future First believes everyone should be able to succeed in a career of their choice, regardless of their background. The charity’s research shows almost five in ten young people receiving Free School Meals don’t know anyone in a job they would like to do and that three quarters of them don’t believe that they can be successful. Matt Lent, Chief Executive Officer Future First, said: “Students cannot be what they can’t see. Future First’s new partnership with The Flava People will provide inspiring opportunities for more young people to develop their employability skills and understand the food industry.  Students will be able to connect with experienced staff whose stories will bring the industry alive. Hearing from employees in interesting jobs helps students make better-informed decisions about what they need for their working life as well as develop the skills employers are looking for.” Scott Dixon, Managing Director of The Flava People said: “We believe passionately in the power of food and flavour as a tool to drive positive change, not just for businesses and brands but across education, employment and beyond. We have a responsibility to use what we have, what we know and what we’ve learnt to empower others who might not otherwise get that opportunity. Future First, with their extensive knowledge of the education sector, was the obvious partner with whom to start this journey.” Teacher Pippa Conley, Faculty Leader for Design & Technology at Sale Grammar School, said: “Our students came back to school brimming with enthusiasm after all of the activities they took part in. I really do think they have had their eyes opened to many diverse careers and possibilities for the future.” For further information on Future First visit the website Picture caption: Students from Sale Grammar School attend The Flava People’s Sharston factory to learn about the industry.

Actor David Harewood backs Future First alumni networks in Birmingham state schools

Actor David Harewood, who is working with Future First

Former state students in Birmingham are to help transform current students’ opportunities and give them a better start in life by going back to their old schools in an initiative to build an alumni network in schools and colleges in the city. The programme – run by the education charity Future First – has been backed by the Birmingham born actor David Harewood who went to Washwood Heath Academy in Burney Lane, Stechford. The school is one of a thousand state schools and colleges across Britain which have worked with Future First to encourage more schools to see alumni as a valuable resource in broadening the jobs horizons of the current generation and preparing them to navigate the transition from school to work. Private schools and universities have long seen the value of keeping alumni in close contact after they have left. More than 226,000 former students nationwide have already signed up to stay connected with their old school. They’re motivating young people as career and education role models, mentors, work experience providers, governors and fundraisers by volunteering at assemblies and workshops designed to broaden young people’s jobs horizons and help them achieve a career of their choice regardless of their background.  David, whose film and TV career includes the TV series Homeland and The Night Manager, said: “It’s difficult for young people to understand the skills needed in the world of work unless they meet people in interesting careers. I was very fortunate because I achieved the career I wanted, but not everyone has that opportunity. Future First can help give young people in Birmingham that chance, whatever their background. I’d urge everyone to broaden young people’s jobs horizons by signing up to Future First’s network.” Matt Lent, Chief Executive Officer of Future First said: “Students cannot be what they cannot see. It is vital to open their eyes to opportunities beyond their own world and show them the range of jobs available. Alumni help schools do this by acting as relatable positive role models. If a student sees someone who has the same background has gone on to achieve success, they are far more likely to think they can too.” Future First works in six Birmingham schools, Ninestiles an Academy, Greenwood Academy, Turves Green Girls’ School, Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls, Kings Norton Girls School as well as Washwood Heath Academy.    For more information, see the Future First website here.                                                              Picture captions: Actor David Harewood supports Future First’s work in Birmingham state schools.    

Eleven thousand volunteers go back to school to broaden students’ jobs horizons

Future First

More than eleven thousand former students across Britain have this year volunteered at their old state school in partnership with Future First, an education charity. By volunteering, these alumni have helped to broaden students’ jobs horizons and boost their aspirations for the future.   Their contribution represents more than 20,000 hours of free volunteering time, an invaluable boost for state schools currently grappling with limited budgets. Future First has helped these state schools to tap into the time, talent, and resource of their former students, bringing them back to school to act as career role models for the next generation. 4,500 different employers have been represented as part of the initiative. And more than 110,000 young people have benefited. Future First’s work in more than a thousand state schools has been backed by celebrities including actors Julie Walters, Stephen Fry, Craig Parkinson and Jodie Prenger and the DJ Nick Grimshaw. Since 2009, the charity has worked with more than a thousand state schools from Plymouth to Glasgow enabling them to harness the skills of former students by building supportive networks of alumni volunteers around the school.   Former students return to their old school, opening up new worlds of opportunities for current students, to act as career and education role models, mentors, governors, providers of work experience and much more. They help to equip the current generation of students with the soft skills they need to succeed in the world of work and to boost their confidence to achieve academically. Future First research shows alumni can transform students’ motivation by acting as relatable role models grounded in the community, showing current students that ‘people like me’ can succeed. Matt Lent, CEO of Future First said:  “This is an astonishing number of volunteering hours and shows the willingness of former students to support current students at their old state schools. Students can’t be what they can’t see and it is vital that we equip them with a broad knowledge of available careers and give them the skills they need to achieve.” “Private schools have always understood the value of linking students past and present and now state schools are realising this too. Alumni are an untapped resource of talent and skills. It’s inspirational and very motivating for students to see that if someone who sat at the same desk as them has gone on to succeed, they can too.” Charlie Pullen, a PhD student who volunteered at his old school Varndean School in Brighton, said: “These students were having dedicated time to learn how to be confident. I wish I had had classes that taught me how to look someone in the eye and speak with assurance when I was their age.” For further information on Future First, click here contact Press Officer Sue Crabtree or call one of the Future First team on 0207 239 8933