Raising aspirations at primary school

It’s our sixth year partnering with law firm Ashurst to help raise the career aspirations of Year 6 students at Bonner Primary School in East London. The First Steps Programme has been a huge success. 390 students have taken part so far and, on average, their confidence in getting a job that interests them in the future has risen by 70%.

This year our expert team of facilitators worked with a class of students and volunteers from Ashurst over five aspiration raising days. We’ve designed these sessions to build students’ awareness of the types of jobs they might want to do in the future and how they could access them, as well as to start building their confidence and skills ready to excel in their academic and working lives.

One event saw the Year 6s become small businesses tasked with creating a prototype for a new toy. The group showed fantastic creativity and teamwork, presenting creations ranging from rocket ships and aliens to light-up reading glasses and wireless game controllers. In a ‘Dragons Den’ style task the students then pitched to a panel of Ashurst volunteers who decided which business to invest in.

The Department for Education’s new careers strategy highlights the importance of employer interactions at primary school, to help young people from an early age connect what they learn at school to jobs they might do in the future. It suggests students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds who may lack exposure to positive role models, should be enabled to spend more time with employers throughout their education. With this in mind, we are working on developing our programme for primary aged children, helping to broaden their horizons at this crucial early stage through engaging interactions with alumni.