Future First: helping students Climb the Rungs

Future First has featured on a new social mobility podcast aimed at young people from less-advantaged backgrounds to inspire them to achieve career success.

Alumni Programme Manager, Akeem-Chavez Williams, spoke to Gary Izunwa founder of the Climbing the Rungs podcast about their start in life, their background and education and what led them to work for Future First.

Climbing the Rungs features a story each month by professionals from less-advantaged backgrounds who have gone on to progress well in their careers. The podcast guests share their unique stories to inspire listeners, raise awareness of socio-economic issues and provide practical advice to help democratise information that can sometimes be difficult to access.

In the episode, Akeem-Chavez talks about the ‘network gap’ saying: “[Future First] gives state school pupils a network that will help them in their early careers and can also help those establishing their careers to give back – because we know that a network is something that is missing for a lot of young people.”

Since launching at the end of February 2021, Climbing The Rungs has partnered with a number of universities, charities and influencers such as the University of Bristol, The Sutton Trust and Afzal Hussein, founder of Simpley, the peer-to-peer consulting and mentoring app, to raise awareness and start a conversation about social mobility.

So far, episodes have included topics on unpaid internships and the effect on social mobility, why professionals from less privileged backgrounds take 25% longer to progress through pay grades in Financial Services than their privileged colleagues, and ‘unlearning’ parts of your upbringing in order to progress in your career. Needless to say, these topics resonate with Future First’s work and mission on many levels.

Gary continues: “At the moment we are planning our second season which will take a bit of a different approach from the first one so watch this space! We are also exploring the possibility of running events and a mentorship programme alongside the podcast, so there’s lots to be excited about. My hope is that by sharing the stories of successful professionals from less privileged backgrounds and raising awareness of socio-economic issues, that others can begin to own their low socio-economic background and employers can begin to account for socio-economic diversity.”

“Future First fits into what we’re doing perfectly as they work with one of our target audiences: young people in state schools. Between Future First inspiring students by connecting them with relatable alumni role-models and Climbing The Rungs encouraging young people to get involved in the conversation by highlighting the significance of socio economic issues, I am hopeful for the progression on the social mobility agenda.”