Social Mobility partnership South Yorkshire Futures has facilitated a partnership between the Sheffield City Region Enterprise Adviser Network and Inspiring the Future, to develop a campaign and event to help promote the platform to potential volunteers, and to get schools and colleges using it more effectively.
The Sheffield City Region’s Enterprise Adviser Network, who work with educational institutions across South Yorkshire to support them with Careers Education and link them with employers, worked closely with Sheaf Training in Sheffield and Wingfield Academy in Rotherham to develop two volunteer opportunities during National Careers Week that could be promoted through the platform. Inspiring the Future also offered support and met with Careers Leaders to make the process as simple as possible.
An online event in partnership with Inspiring the Future for all South Yorkshire-based volunteers who are registered on, or interested in the programme, showcased how easy it is to get involved in virtual activities and engage in careers education, and highlighted the opportunities available to them.
Erika Mariella-Worrall, Careers Leader at Sheaf Training, used the Inspiring the Future platform to find some brilliant volunteers to contribute to a series of online interactive careers talks for her students with learning difficulties.
Leisha Marlow from OFR Fire and Risk Consultants gave a talk on her experiences of leaving school with few qualifications and starting work with barriers including learning difficulties, mental health issues, and shared stories of how she was trained on the job, went to University as a mature student and how her employers supported her through gaining industry relevant qualifications.
Linda Bloomfield, a Freelance Producer working in Theatre, talked about roles within the field and created a handout with local organisations that YP could access and get experience or free workshops.
Stephen Thompson, Head of Corporate Marketing and Digital from the University of Sheffield gave a talk focussing on employability skills, routes into employment and teamwork, then took some challenging questions from learners that made him think about his own role in this as a senior manager in a large employer.
All three volunteers enjoyed the experience and valued the time Erika spent with them before their talks to explain what she was looking for to cater for the varied needs of her learners.
Joanne Sorby, Careers Adviser at Wingfield Academy, organised a ‘What’s my Line’ event with the schools’s Careers Leader Vanessa Gregory. The event involved volunteers talking about their roles before asking students to guess their jobs and then taking further questions. They found six volunteers to take part through the Inspiring the Future platform from a range of backgrounds and sectors including an Accountant, Author, Marketing, Business Coach, Airline Industry and Health and Social Care.
Volunteer Leisha Marlow said of her experience with learners at Sheaf Training: “They were very engaged and asked good questions after my presentation. I felt that they were well prepared, indicating that both the staff at Sheaf Training and the Inspiring the Future platform were successful in their aim to bridge the gap between education and employers. I would recommend this to anyone keen to reflect on their own careers and share some of their experiences to inspire others”.
Joanne Sorby at Wingfield Academy said: “The event went really well; I was very pleased with the employees that took part and would definitely use the service again and would recommend it to others”.
Victoria York, Volunteer Manager at Inspiring the Future said: “We’re delighted that schools and colleges in South Yorkshire are using our match-making service to access a range of diverse volunteers who are able to speak to their young people to raise their aspirations and broaden their horizons. It’s a great opportunity for both schools and volunteers to join together and support the young people in our community and motivate and inspire them when it’s needed most’
If you are an employer / employee who would like to engage in activities such as these, or an educator looking to improve your careers education for young people, you can sign up for Inspiring the Future at the top of this page, or contact your local Enterprise Coordinator.