At Future First our mission is to see every state school and college supported by a thriving and engaged alumni community. We know meeting alumni and volunteers from the world of work improves students’ motivation, confidence and life chances, and that access to networks of relatable role models helps broaden the horizons of young people.
Our work would not be possible without the support of volunteers. This Volunteers’ Week, we’d like to take the chance to say a big thank you to all the alumni and business volunteers who support young people in schools and colleges across the country.
Volunteers have very kindly given up their time to support schools and colleges in a diverse range of ways. This academic year, volunteer undergraduates have taken part in Future First workshops ensuring school students are better informed about the reality of participating in Higher Education; business professionals returned to their old school to offer mock interviews; alumni have volunteered to become school governors and even participated in training sessions for school staff to ensure students get the most up to date careers advice possible. We’ve worked with industry volunteers to deliver sector specific workshops for school students and supported alumni to become mentors and share advice and tips with current students remotely if they were not able to go back in person.
None of this is possible without the support of volunteers willing to share their own time and knowledge.
In 2017-18, volunteers contributed 7132 hours of their time, helping us reach over 82,000 young people, and we’re well on the way to reaching similar levels of volunteer participation this academic year. Teachers and school leaders really understand the benefits of this support too, with 96% of school staff we surveyed last year saying what alumni offered was relevant to their students. Perhaps most important of all, current students see the worth in meeting and interacting with volunteers, offering feedback such as “I listened to what they had done and I knew that could be me” after meeting former students.
So from everyone at Future First we’d like to say thank you for the invaluable support offered by volunteers who are making a difference to young people today. And if you’re a former student who hasn’t yet volunteered at their old school or college, do sign up here to offer your support.