Is a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check needed?
For career insight talks there is no need to be CRB checked as volunteers will not have unsupported access to students. There is also no need for CRB checks because volunteers will mostly go through their employers. Schools are experts on child protection and they choose who has contact with their students. However, for other activities being brought on board next year – such as mentoring - CRB checks may be required.
Do teachers get to see full volunteer CVs in advance of meeting them?
Teachers see short profiles of employee volunteers which the volunteers have filled in themselves. We take it on trust that individuals have been honest about their skills and experience. There are also legal terms and conditions that you must agree to before registration.
Can an individual sign up without employer backing, for example a retired or currently unemployed person?
Yes, this facility is available. However, the initial emphasis during the launch is on recruiting current employees and using organisational routes and human resources departments.
How old are volunteers?
They are aged 20+ right up to retirement age. We’re especially encouraging people in their 20s as they are close in age to secondary school students who will be able to relate to them but we want people of all ages.
What if I’m not very good at talking to young people? Will I be struck off?
You don’t need to be a confident public speaker as these career insights and enterprise talks are informal and you will have the support and presence of a teacher who know the students. They involve talking about what you do every day, so it is subject matter that will be second nature! We offer tips and guidance if you need it. In an exceptional case where there appears to be a problem with someone talking about ‘the job they do’ we would just not match them with other schools.
How does the registration process work?
Follow a ‘register now’ link from the home page, or the pages for schools/colleges and employers. This will take you to the Inspiring the Future portal, where you will be asked to provide a few basic details, and your email address. Once your registration is approved, you will receive an email containing a temporary password. When you log in using this password, you will be asked to change it to something more memorable. On first entering the portal, we’ll ask you to provide a few more details about yourself, and what you need as a school or can offer as a volunteer. You’ll be asked to select activities that you need help with or can volunteer for – currently this is Career Insights talks, and Career Insights Enterprise talks for those with enterprise or entrepreneurial experience. In early 2012, we will switch on the ‘matching’ functionality (in some areas where there is a high volume of volunteers, this will happen earlier). When this is available, schools can go to ‘My Matches’ once logged in, and generate a list of volunteers in their area who can offer the activity specified. Schools can view brief details that volunteers have entered about themselves, their jobs, and what they can offer. Private email addresses and phone numbers are not visible to either party. From the My Matches page, they can message appropriate volunteers and ask them to get involved in an activity they have coming up. After discussion through the messaging system, schools create an ‘activity’ giving a few more details of the event - the date, number of students, and other useful information. Volunteers accept the event, and once it has taken place schools close it, triggering feedback. We ask four or five questions of both volunteers and schools about how the event went. We strongly recommend that this is completed, as it allows us to keep an eye of the quality of volunteers and whether the service is working for both parties. We also use your feedback to report to funders, which will help to keep this service completely free to schools and volunteers.
Will it replace existing face-to-face careers advice?
No, that is not the objective. Inspiring the Future does offer face-to-face careers advice, guidance and information from volunteers but it is complementary to other government provided national careers provision. It offers career insights to help inspire students.
Why don’t you cover primary schools?
Inspiring the Future will be rolled out to primary schools during 2012 but the launch phase focuses on English secondary schools. There will be a push to reach English primary schools in early 2012.
Are Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland covered?
Not in the initial phase but it is hoped that the programme will be rolled out across the UK at a later date. As a small charity we do not have the manpower to do this in the launch phase (2011).
How will we reach all regions? Especially rural areas where there are few employers?
We will use local and regional media and create a bank of local spokespeople over time. We can also use our stakeholder networks, large employers with branches, outlets or offices nationally and also gateway organisations, such as the CIPD, IoD, BCC, FSB, TUC and CBI who also have regional branches or chambers.
How are you engaging SMEs in working with schools?
The initial focus during the launch phase is on large employers but during 2012 we will be campaign to get SME employees to volunteer. This will largely be through our strong links with the Federation of Small Business, British Chambers of Commerce, Institute of Directors and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. All of these employer representative bodies sit on our charity Partnership Board.
• Can the technology cope with more than 100,000?
Yes, it can but there is a natural limit on numbers due to the number of schools in the country.
Why are you aiming for 100,000 volunteers? Where does this number come from?
We need to recruit people from different jobs, professions, sectors and of different ages so 100,000 is an initial target. Also a typical school/college careers fair might have 30 – 35 people and there are 3,200 secondary schools which means that we ideally need 100,000 volunteers.
Will you extend the menu of volunteering options over time?
Yes, during 2012 and 2013 we will add to the volunteering menu options to include activities such as becoming a school governor, mentoring and offering work experience to students.
Why has something like this not been done before?
Careers fairs and employers being involved in careers information is obviously not new but bringing together the worlds of education and employment in such a coherent way and having the innovative technology to enable matching to be done cheaply and securely is a new development.
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