Alumni Programme

Future First has developed a robust process for helping schools develop sustainable alumni communities- engaging both this year’s leavers and former students who have lost touch – using a secure online platform to support that connection.

The work of Future First is a collaboration between our expert team, school staff, students, employers and alumni. Future First has a team of dedicated Alumni Officers who work with schools and colleges to help them build and manage their community of former students. Alumni Officers are experts in their field and offer practical support and advice for school staff.

We take an enabling approach. We work with schools and colleges to embed alumni engagement across the fabric of the school and lives of the students so that each network is sustainable and accessible for generations to come.

How do we do it?

STEP1 | Sign up leavers

Our first step is to sign up all final year students so they can keep in touch from their last day. Future First provides a secure online platform that helps schools to collect student contact details, keep those contact details up to date, send out communications and search and filter through their alumni to find volunteers for specific needs. To try out the portal please contact info@futurefirst.org.uk and request our guest log in.

STEP 2 | Reach out to former student

We also help schools to reach out to former students who have lost touch using press, social media, employer and university partnerships, and our Back to School Week campaign to encourage alumni to sign up.

STEP 3 | Engaging former students

Schools regularly contact former students with updates, newsletters and opportunities to get involved. An engaged network helps alumni feel part of the school community.

Step 4 | Track their journeys

We help track progression routes and destinations via our annual tracking survey and online platform. Schools can capture their former students' journeys by asking them to update their details every year.

Step 5 | Invite former students back to school

The next step is to invite alumni to support current students by bringing them back as inspiring speakers, or asking them to provide mentoring, work shadowing or ' a day in the life' video profiles.

How do we do it?

STEP1 | Sign up leavers

Our first step is to sign up all final year students so they can keep in touch from their last day. Future First provides a secure online platform that helps schools to collect student contact details, keep those contact details up to date, send out communications and search and filter through their alumni to find volunteers for specific needs. To try out the portal please contact info@futurefirst.org.uk and request our guest log in.

STEP 2 | Reach out to former student

We also help schools to reach out to former students who have lost touch using press, social media, employer and university partnerships, and our Back to School Week campaign to encourage alumni to sign up.

STEP 3 | Engaging former students

Schools regularly contact former students with updates, newsletters and opportunities to get involved. An engaged network helps alumni feel part of the school community.

Step 4 | Track their journeys

We help track progression routes and destinations via our annual tracking survey and online platform. Schools can capture their former students' journeys by asking them to update their details every year.

Step 5 | Invite former students back to school

The next step is to invite alumni to support current students by bringing them back as inspiring speakers, or asking them to provide mentoring, work shadowing or ' a day in the life' video profiles.

We create a tailored programme for every school and college

Once we have helped reach out to former students and build networks, schools and colleges can begin to use their former students in a variety of ways to meet a variety of needs. Our goal is to help each school or college to deliver the most effective interventions to address the specific needs of their students.

Find out how we can help

Alumni drop-in sessions at Ernest Bevin College

Read MORE

16 August 2016

Alumni drop-in sessions at Ernest Bevin College

Ernest Bevin College is an 11-18 comprehensive in Tooting, London. The school have been building an alumni community with Future First since 2013. Enrichment afternoons are timetabled for sixth form students every Wednesday so that students can take part in a valuable activity within their normal timetable.

Staff at Ernest Bevin have historically struggled to resource the afternoons and staff haven’t had the time to organise activities that would keep the boys in school.

Rose Banks, sixth form study manager, worked with Future First to use the school’s growing alumni network to plan inspiring sessions, inviting former students to a timetable of talks each Wednesday. Each week, a former student returns to school and speaks about their pathway, from school to where they are now. Rose reaches out to the head of careers to identify students interested in each former student’s journey, and contacts the head of the relevant subject department to in case any subject can support the students’ curriculum.

The school has seen a significantly increased engagement as students remain in for Wednesday afternoons to hear the alumni stories. Rose believes that this is down to the speakers being former students, and says that the connection between alumni and the students is not one she’s seen before in career talks: “The reality really sets in that this could be them. I’ve started to see a real boost in confidence in the students I work closely with”.

The sessions are providing real networking opportunities for students too. As a result of the sessions, two students have arranged work placements with the alumni they met at the talks.

“The alumni just really get the students, you can see them sitting up straight, asking questions and becoming motivated throughout the talks. The alumni say’ I used to be you, this is what I do now and this isthe car I drive now”.

Rose Banks, Sixth Form Study Manager, Ernest Bevin School

close

Raising Aspirations at Newall Green High School

Read MORE

16 August 2016

Raising Aspirations at Newall Green High School

Newall Green High School is a mixed 11-18 comprehensive in Manchester. The school has been working with Future First for three years to grow a community of former students and embed a community culture across the school. According to the Social Mobility Index, the area has one of the worst records for social mobility in England. The school report that there are generations of unemployment in the area and that they want to give students and their families support to find out what career options are out there.

The staff at Newall Green do fantastic work to help broaden students horizons. A ‘success wall’ lines the main entrance where former students appear on posters designed to inspire students as they walk to their classes. An alumni newsletter goes out three times a year to keep former students updated with school news and opportunities to get involved. Alumni return to speak to years 7-13 once every half term to provide a ‘drip effect’ on inspiration for the students.

Newall Green worked with Future First to plan an ‘introduction to careers’ session for their Year 8s. The students had recently chosen their GCSE subjects and the session aimed to show how those subjects relate to the outside world and where the skills they learn can take them. The school finds that students don’t often meet people in jobs they want to do and many go on to become teachers because they meet them every day. One of the former students who was there on the day, Hannah Beth told us, “I trained for three years to become a teacher because I just thought that’s what people do. I had no idea I could work locally in another respectable job.”

The session began with former students sharing their favourite memory from school. They introduced props so the students could guess what they did, which included a camera lense (Director), a movie clapper (Actor), a virgin media remote control (Virgin media specialist) and a Buddha (R.E. teacher). Students then had time with the alumni in small groups, asking questions about their progression routes and discussing their own goals and aspirations. The former students shared advice on how to get there.

The advice shared by alumni had an impact on one student in particular, Luke. Luke told us that he didn’t often meet people in interesting jobs or people in jobs that he wanted to do. “It’s good to hear that some of them found school hard and still do good jobs.”

“When I was at school there was no way I thought people from here could go into my line of work. I just didn’t know anyone in that kind of job and being from this area, I just didn’t think I could do it either. This area is part of me, it gets so much bad press but there are successful people from here. I want the students to know that.”

Andy Ellis, Actor and former student of Newall Green High School

close

Building Motivation at Wellfield High School

Wellfield High Sdchool is a secondary school in Leyland for 11-16 year olds and has been...

Read MORE

16 August 2016

Building Motivation at Wellfield High School

I learnt that hard work pays off. I need to believe more in myself and work harder.

Eve, Year 10 student

I learnt that you have to take chances and it's good to come out of your comfort zone.

Tory, Year 10 student

close

Why Alumni?

Alumni communities have two distinctive strengths: relatability and sustainability. Having grown up in the same area and perhaps having had some of the same teachers, former students are ideal role models as they are instantly relatable. They can offer advice to students from their own context.

Alumni can prove to students that ‘someone like me’ can succeed and prosper.

Schools and colleges have a lasting pool of support available because as new students leave the school each year , they join the growing community of volunteers.

Within every school and college’s alumni community, there is a host of potential career and education role models. The list of possibilities are endless and new innovative ways of working with alumni are developing everyday.

Role Models

Mentors

Supporting the Curriculum

Work Placements

Volunteering

Fundraisers

Role Models

Having grown up in the same place and attended the same school, alumni are immediately relatable to current students. This makes them ideal role models. Alumni can talk about their educational or career experiences and inspire current students to achieve their potential.

close

Mentors

Alumni can act as mentors either online or in person, providing advice, support and guidance to students. Mentoring is tailored to the individual with specific goals in mind, offering students a purposeful new relationship to help overcome a range of challenges.

close

Supporting the Curriculum

Former students can play a key role in the delivery of the core curriculum. Returning to their old classrooms, alumni enrich the curriculum by co-delivering lessons related to their careers, helping build students’ understanding of the real world application of their learning and boosting their motivation.

close

Work Placements

Work experience is an invaluable opportunity for students to gain an insight into working life. Alumni can provide shadowing opportunities and placements, helping students gain not online more awareness of work, but also the skills they need to succeed when they get there.

close

Volunteering

Former students often have specific expertise to offer: from coaching a football team, to running after school clubs or designing a new garden. They can also help the school or college community to flourish by acting as governors, combining knowledge of the local community with experiences and skills they’ve gained since leaving school.

close

Fundraisers

Alumni can support their old school or college by raising money or donating to specific causes. This could be books for the library, music equipment or to fund educational visits for current students.

close

Our Employer Programme

Young people deserve and benefit greatly from access to employers whilst they’re still at school. Research shows that young people who interact with employers during their time at school are far less likely to become NEET (not in education, employment or training).

Our employer programme complements the core work we undertake to build and develop communities of former students. Alumni volunteers boost students’ confidence, motivation and knowledge of career pathways. We work with a range of employers, for partner staff to talk to young people, including in the workplace itself. This enables students to access the real experience, advice and motivation from a range of available jobs.

We are very grateful for the support of our employer partners. If you are interested in becoming a partner or finding out more information please contact Amy Finch at amy@futurefirst.org.uk.