Find out more about volunteering with Inspiring the Future:
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?
Yes – about half of Inspiring the Future volunteers have signed up as individual as opposed to go through an employer of professional body scheme.
How old are volunteers?
They are aged 18 right up to retirement age, and we want people of all ages, levels and backgrounds. People in their 20s are close in age to secondary school/college students who will be able to relate to them, but people with more experience can also be invaluable to young people’s decision making.
You don’t need to be a confident public speaker, as career insights and the other activities on Inspiring the Future are informal and you will have the support and presence of a teacher who knows the students. They involve talking about what you do every day, so it is subject matter that will be second nature! We also 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/colleges.
Is a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (formerly known as CRB) check needed?
For Inspiring the Future activities there is no need to be DBS checked as volunteers will not have unsupported access to students. There is also no need for DBS checks because volunteers will mostly go through their employers. Schools are experts on child protection and they choose who has contact with their students. Find out more about safeguarding.
Will it replace existing careers advice?
No, that is not the objective. Inspiring the Future does offer face-to-face and virtual 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.
Do you cover primary schools?
Yes – Inspiring the Future was rolled out to primary schools in May 2014 working with the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), under the name Primary Futures.
Are Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland covered?
Although a lot of our activity has been focused in England, we have schools and volunteers registered across Wales and Scotland and initial interest from stakeholders in Northern Ireland. As soon as we meet critical mass we will look to increase our engagements across all regions.
Will school alumni networks be involved?
When creating their profiles, volunteers can select their old school/college from a search list if they are interested in being approached about going back there to undertake an Inspiring the Future activity. Teachers can then search for ‘former students’ to invite them in.
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.
With virtual activities schools can also connect with volunteers all across the UK, widening the pool of inspiring people who can talk to their young people and removing some of the limitations that may be found in rural areas.
I want to volunteer by participating in a virtual session – how do I get involved?
That’s great! There are two ways you can get involved:
1. Make sure you have selected that you’re happy to volunteer virtually on your profile. To do this simply log into the Inspiring the Future portal, go to ‘update profile’, go to the ‘volunteering opportunities’ tab and scroll down to the bottom where it says, ‘I am willing to take part in virtual events (for example using Zoom, Microsoft Teams or similar)’. Change the answer to YES and then save your changes at the bottom of the page. This means that teachers coordinating virtual activities will now see your profile in the list and be able to invite you to participate.
2. You can also search for virtual opportunities by expressing interest – go to Search for Opportunities and tick “Virtual event” on the left-hand side.
How are you engaging SMEs in working with schools/colleges?
We do this through specific campaigns and 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.
Why has something like this not been done before?
Careers fairs and employers being involved in careers information is of course not new, but bringing together the worlds of education and employment in such a coherent way and having the innovative technology to enable this makes Inspiring the Future so valuable.
Will a student ever contact me?
No, only teachers, or staff within a school/college.
When should I expect to receive an invitation from a school/college?
We can’t guarantee a specific timeline as it depends when schools/colleges need volunteers which can happen at any point during the academic year, but thousands of messages are sent every week through the system.
How quickly would the school expect me to respond?
There’s not a specified response time, but we do ask that volunteers and teachers respond to message as quickly as possible. We would hope that a response would be made within a few days or a week.
What if I don’t hear anything after a few months?
Unfortunately, sometimes a few volunteers won’t be contacted for a while, in this case we would recommend them logging in and updating their profile to put more information about themselves. You can also say you’re willing to participate in virtual activities, which allows schools all across the UK to search for and invite you to their activities. Read our practical advice and tops tips on writing your profile. There is other useful advice for maximising the number of invitations that you receive from schools/colleges and making the most of your activity in our Resources section.
I would like to give a talk at my child’s school/college. Can I check if the school/college is registered to the Inspiring the Future system?
Volunteers can’t see through the system what schools/college are signed up. However, in your profile, you could select your child’s school from a search list if you are interested in being approached about going back there to undertake an Inspiring the Future activity. As part of our technological improvements, teachers will be able to search and invite volunteers into their old school/college and child’s school/college.
Will schools always want me to do day time events?
Asks will mostly be for careers fairs, assemblies and classroom sessions during the school day (9.00am to 3.30pm) but some schools and colleges also have early evening events. It is entirely up to volunteers to decide what time slots and dates they want to do.
Can I register on a tablet or mobile device?
Yes, with the launch of the new Inspiring the Future portal, you can now use Inspiring the Future on mobiles and tablets to register and message/invite and reply to volunteers.
Can I add my profession association/network to my profile?
You can add your profession and association network to your profile by following the simple steps below:
1. Log into the portal and go to update profile
2. On the about you tab, scroll down to my memberships of Professional Associations etc.
3. Click add another?
4. Search for the name of the organisation and select the type of relationship
5. Ensure active is ticked and select Opt In if you are happy to be included in a volunteering summary which may be shared with the association
6. Click add
7. Click save changes at the bottom of the page
Inspiring the Future data is stored in a secure Salesforce.com facility in North America