We know that for children meeting a diverse range of volunteers from the world of work makes a real difference to their life chances.
The research we have carried out over the past 10 years has proven that these activities help inspire and motivate children, which in turn leads to improved attainment.
Our evidence also shows that it helps broaden horizons and raise aspirations and challenges the stereotypical views that can be formed at an early age about people and the jobs they do based on their gender, ethnicity and social background.
That is why teachers have been working so hard to enable this to happen during the Covid crisis.
Together we have pioneered virtual interactive ways to enable children to connect with volunteers from the world of work across all different backgrounds and sectors. Working with lots of teachers and schools across the country via our Primary Futures programme, we have developed something that meets the needs of children and with all the robust safeguarding measures in place. The sessions aim to motivate and inspire students to see the value in their school subjects, challenge stereotypes and raise their aspirations. Accompanied by polls and with Q&As as a major element of the activities, the sessions ensure an interactive and engaging learning experience. It enables children to ask direct questions of the role models in real time and get their response.
We have created videos to demonstrate how virtual activities work.
Please scroll to the bottom of the page to view our longer webinar on virtual volunteering for more information.
The interactive sessions are teacher led, so schools and colleges can decide how best to involve volunteers. They can invite them to take part in a range of different activities from ‘What’s My Line’ assemblies to Classroom Chats and talks on specific subjects. Thousands of volunteers have so far told us they want to help with virtual activities and many have joined us on sessions so far – they come from a wide range of jobs, employers and sectors and all have exciting and inspiring stories to share.
During the 2020 summer term, we undertook over 200 sessions with schools and learnt a great deal about what works well and how to ensure the sessions are engaging and motivating for children. We also tested the different technology platforms schools are using and sought expert advice on safeguarding. From this we have produced learning guides and resources for school and volunteers. Our volunteers and schools reached over 6000 children and young people through these virtual sessions – from Aberdeen to Penzance, Southampton to Derby, these sessions have inspired children across the UK, including in rural locations and areas with a lower number of registered volunteers.
Feedback from sessions held so far has demonstrated that they are helping to inspire and motivate, bringing learning to life, exciting them about education and re-engaging them in learning. Students have said:
“I learnt how important school subjects such as Maths, English and Science are in order to follow your career choice”
“It showed me that girls and boys can have the same job”
“I learnt that I already have skills that will help me in my career”
Teachers can organise their own bespoke virtual activities for their students. Find out how.
You can sign up to volunteer here, or log in and edit your profile to say “I am willing to take part in virtual events”.
Find out more in our virtual volunteering webinar: