Thank you for Inspiring the Future this year – plus ideas from fellow careers leaders

We’re so proud of the strength and determination schools & colleges have shown this academic year. Amongst the disruptions, over 500 schools have been adapting to changing guidelines and reached over 160,000 young people by organising a mix of virtual and face-to-face activities using Inspiring the Future.

Looking forwards, Careers Leaders and subject teachers can enjoy the benefits of a blended approach using Inspiring the Future. Schools & colleges can re-connect with local employers as well get specific in searching for relatable role models from our pool of 10,000 virtual volunteers across a range of job types and levels.

From in-person speed networking events at South Nottinghamshire Academy to virtual Q&A sessions on Zoom at Southwark College, it’s easy to use Inspiring the Future next academic year to motivate your students and meet Gatsby Benchmarks.

We’d love to hear your plans for next year so we can inform volunteers – please take this (very) quick poll.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our fantastic volunteers for the time you have generously given to inspire young people. During this challenging year, sharing your stories has meant more than ever.

Read on to find out about:

  1. How schools are meeting Gatsby Benchmarks
  2. Pre-recorded resources to accompany live encounters
  3. Videos & guides to help you utilise our pool of volunteers
  4. Learnings from careers leaders on the ground

“This tool has been excellent; we now have a wide selection of volunteers from all sectors and backgrounds. I have been a careers adviser for 20 years and usually have difficulty getting a mix of volunteers to give students a real insight into the world of work.” – Jo Caroll, Southborough High School

Activities with impact: How schools & colleges are meeting Gatsby Benchmarks

Did you know, Inspiring the Future can be used to meet Gatsby Benchmarks 3-7 and not just the obvious GB5 (employer encounters)?

  1. Eckington School in Derbyshire met the needs of their students (GB3) by individually matching 45 of her Year 12 students with a virtual mentor from a sector of interest. Watch what Sally-Anne said about her experience.
  2. Kenmay Academy in Aberdeenshire linked curriculum learning to careers (GB4) by connecting fashion students with the founder of a make-up app.
  3. Mock interviews are a great way to provide encounters with employers & employees (GB5). Eltham Hill School in Greenwich, London is organising face-to-face mock interviews this week as part of their Year 10 Employability Day.A volunteer Jamila speaks about her career journey over Microsoft Teams
  4. Barking and Dagenham College planned a virtual pitching challenge for their Business students, involving volunteers feeding back on students’ business presentations. Read our VWEX guide to provide virtual experiences of the workplace (GB6).
  5. Westminster Kingsway College in Camden, London provided encounters with further and higher education (GB7) by asking a range of healthcare volunteers to share the pathway they took. Search for volunteers who have taken a vocational route or can speak about Apprenticeships to learn about different career routes.

Easy careers encounters: Don’t miss our pre-recorded materials

This year over 72,000 young people have been impacted by our pre-recorded resources, which are easy to incorporate in lessons and tutor time. Have you accessed our pre-recorded resources below?

  • In our Inspiring Women Career Chats resource for KS3 & 4 students, a Rugby Match Official and an Entrepreneur demonstrate that anyone can pursue their passion regardless of their gender or background. Watch our teaser trailer.
  • In our NHS ‘Everyday Heroes’ resource for secondary students, young people find out about different routes into the NHS, hear authentic stories and learn what working on the frontline is actually like. Get a taste by watching our short trailer.
  • In our ‘Pathways into STEM’ Career Chats recording aimed at post-16 students, a panel of volunteers working in transport, horticulture and nuclear talk about the different pathways into STEM and the skills that were important to them.

Discussion and follow-up activities are built into the videos. Stay tuned next term as we add to the library of pre-recorded session with panels of volunteers talking about ‘Pathways into Law’, ‘Business Management and Entrepreneurship’, ‘Social Media and Marketing’, ‘Tech Jobs of the Future’ and more.

4 volunteers from the NHS share their carer journeys in our 'Everyday Heroes' pre-recorded resource.

Upskill: Videos & guides to gain confidence

  • Unsure what a virtual activity might look like? Explore clips from a virtual session to give you an idea.
  • Feeling out of practice in using the portal to organise your employer encounters? Watch our ‘How to’ video to refresh yourself on how to navigate our self-service system.
  • To maximise connecting with volunteers and hear in more depth what other schools have done, watch our previous CPD recordings.

“Just the right length, practical and all very relevant – probably the best CPD session I’ve attended as it was all so clear and useful.” – CPD attendee

Screenshot from a CPD session this year: Deepening meaningful encounters with employers & employees.

Virtual learnings: Jake’s tips for interactivity

We loved hearing from our network of teacher ambassadors in a recent focus group. Jake Armstrong from Addey & Stanhope in Lewisham shared how he ensures his virtual encounters are as interactive as possible:

  • Start with an icebreaker quiz. What do the students already know about this role or sector?
  • Introduce a short activity to demonstrate a key skill. One volunteer asked the students to draw a house they were describing to bring the importance of listening to life.
  • Students share responses to questions posed by the employer. Print our true/false cards and hold them up to the camera to answer volunteer questions e.g. do you think there are multiple pathways to getting a job like mine?

A big thank you to our community of Teacher Ambassadors for sharing your insights! Next term we will add a menu of quick-fire starter and plenary activity ideas to further enliven virtual and face-to-face encounters, land the learning and add to your evidence base for careers provision.

Screenshot from Teacher Ambassador focus group discussion.

Thank you for being part of the Inspiring the Future community- we look forward to working with you next year!