February 2019

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Responding to comments today (26/02/2019) by Career Colleges that teenagers are unsure where their education is heading, Matt Lent, Chief Executive Officer of Future First, said,

‘Career Colleges is right to say that too many state school and college students are struggling to make key
decisions about their futures and not getting the exposure to industry and work experience that they need.

‘Students cannot be what they cannot see. It is vital schools and colleges prepare young people to enter the
working world, raising their aspirations and broadening their career horizons so they are aware of the range of opportunities available to them.

‘There is a lack of consistency in careers support which varies greatly from school to school, area to area. Future First believes in embedding systems and processes across the education sector to enable every young person to have access to relatable role models and exposure to diverse career options. Engaging alumni communities works so well because they are sustainable and diverse, while at the same time providing that key message that ‘people like me’ can be successful.’

Responding to the speech by The Secretary of State for Education, the Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, on 07 February 2019 on 5 Foundations for Character, Matt Lent, Chief Executive Officer of Future First, said:

‘Future First welcomes the government announcement that volunteering and world of work experiences are core to the 5 Foundations for Character strategy. Developing enrichment opportunities and character skills in young people is essential, however it is only half of the challenge.

A vital difference for young people who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and ‘succeed’, versus those who don’t, is having access to relatable role models and meaningful social capital. Too many young people don’t have access to role models who can show them the diverse range of careers available, and provide tangible links into the world of work. By harnessing the wealth of talent and experience of volunteer alumni who return to their former schools as relatable, positive role models, schools open young people’s eyes to a world beyond their own. Showing them that ‘someone like me’ can progress on to interesting, diverse and fulfilling futures, helping them achieve career confidence and connections.

We need to ensure that all young people, whatever their background, have ready access to the networks they will need in order to meet their raised aspirations and broadened horizons. Exposing them to these experiences alongside character skills will ensure that their start in life does not limit their future.’

For further information on Future First and how we can work together, please contact us info@futurefirst.org.uk