April 2020

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In March 2020 Future First commissioned Teacher Tapp to survey teachers across the UK, asking them a series of questions about careers support in school.

Our findings showed that only 4% of teachers strongly agree they feel equipped to advise young people on the diversity of careers available today. Young people face important choices early and it could feel like some careers or education pathways may not be attainable without enough information and advice. Alumni volunteers can help fill that information gap.

Alumni and role model volunteers can support teachers, providing a wealth of information and inspiration to help young people make informed choices about the future. The power of relatable role models who went to the same schools, sat in the same classrooms and grew up in the same areas is undeniable.

Primary school teachers are less likely to think it is relevant for them to feel equipped to advise young people on the diversity of careers and volunteers can help younger pupils too.. Children can only aspire to be what they can see. Through sharing their personal stories and experiences, local role models and alumni volunteers provide young people at all stages of their school career with invaluable insights into the world of work. They help to address children’s assumptions and stereotypes while showing them the world of choice and possibility available in their future.

It is positive to see that over half of teachers surveyed think volunteers can help support students with motivation, confidence and resilience which are particularly relevant areas in these challenging times.

We know that for young people, multiple encounters with volunteers and the world of work are the most effective. Polling results showed that teachers are looking to provide those experiences with a variety of support requests from one-off events or series of assemblies to longer term support options like mentoring. This highlights the variety of opportunities for volunteers to work with young people, regardless of how much or little time is available.

The results of our research reveal that teachers feel under equipped to offer in depth career guidance and are looking for support. In this uncertain time, volunteers and alumni role models can help fill that gap to build confidence, boost motivation and improve the life chances of young people across the UK.

Key stats

  • Only 4% of teachers strongly agree they feel equipped to advise young people on the diversity of careers available.
  • Younger teachers feel more confident about advising young people on careers (1 in 2 (49%) teachers in their 20s as opposed to under a third in their 50s (32%)
  • Primary school teachers are less likely to think it is relevant for them to feel equipped to advise young people on the diversity of careers (14% primary v 1% secondary)
  • Mentoring and assemblies are the most welcome support volunteers can provide current students according to teachers
  • Over half of teachers surveyed think volunteers could help support their students with building motivation, confidence and resilience

Read the full report here.

Contact Future First to discuss how alumni can support your school with access to relatable role models and engagements with the world of work.

Please find the evaluation report below on the Future Me Mentoring project. Written by Natalie Marshall, Head of Innovation and Learning at Future First.


The national education charity Future First is urging people from all walks of life to join the army of 250,000 former state students signed up to inspire current students at their former school or college during the coronavirus outbreak.

The charity aims to see every state school and college in the UK supported by a thriving and engaged alumni community, which improves students’ motivation, confidence and life chances. More than a thousand state schools and colleges across the UK have worked with Future First to harness the range of talents and experience alumni offer and to broaden young people’s work horizons.

Alumni can offer online support including sharing tips and hints on motivation and resilience in challenging times while schools are closed during the coronavirus outbreak. When schools reopen, the volunteer former students can return as usual for assemblies and workshops meeting students face to face to broaden their work horizons and help instil the confidence that students can succeed in a career of their choice, regardless of their background.

Justin Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Future First, urged people to sign up to volunteer to support current students at their former state school by clicking the sign up link on www.futurefirst.org.uk and for those 250,000 volunteers already registered to contact their former schools to offer support.

He said, ‘The current school closures makes it difficult for teachers to keep young people focused on their studies while off site. The 250,000 alumni registered with Future First demonstrates the enormous will and eagerness to help students at this difficult time. Alumni offering virtual support are a valuable part of a school community and can have a lasting impact on young people’s lives.

‘Everyone has skills to offer and we want people from a wide range of careers, from the professional of law, banking and medicine to vocations like plumbing and photography and recent leavers too, to volunteer. By acting as relatable role models and offering curriculum support and careers advice, alumni provide a clear and inspirational pathway from the classroom to the workplace.’