Monty Panesar joins forces with Future First

We are delighted that England cricketer Monty Panesar is now supporting Future First’s work in his hometown of Luton.

The England star said: “I went to Stopsley High in Luton and ended up playing cricket for England. Now I’m supporting Future First so students today in places like my hometown of Luton have relatable role models to help them succeed. If I can do it, so can anyone – whatever their start in life.”

Future First Chief Executive, Lorraine Langham, was recently a guest on the cricketer’s Panjab Radio show, ‘The Full Monty’, discussing the importance of alumni in showing students what is possible and supporting them to achieve their goals.

The cricketer has linked up with Future First as part of our work to provide Luton schools with alumni networks to support current students. With the damaging impact of the pandemic widening the gap between advantaged pupils and those who are less well off, alumni networks provide vital additional help, advice and connections.

Over the past 10 years, Future First has seen the positive impact alumni provide to students, widening their career horizons and building their confidence and motivation to study harder. Scientific evidence has also emerged detailing the huge impact role models play in our lives. More than this, alumni provide pathways into work and help with CVs, applications, securing internships and apprenticeships, giving students a practical network that can help them get ahead.

We are working with Luton Borough Council to build alumni networks and connections with employers for the town’s schools. So far five schools – Chalk Hills Academy, Stockwood Park Academy, Putteridge High School, Challney High School for Girls and Ashcroft High School – are working with us, with two more schools in discussion. Around 20 Bedfordshire schools took part in a recent careers event, organised with the Luton Careers Hub, so we are hopeful that many more will also join us in bringing the benefit of alumni to as many Luton pupils as possible.

Alumni volunteers always tell us how much they personally get out of the experience of giving back to their former schools. We are calling out for former students of any Luton school to sign up to our network to help young people fight back after the pandemic. Alumni inspire with their stories, appear on inspirational posters and in resources, can help as governors and fundraisers and much more.

We’d also like to invite local and national employers who’d like to get involved to contact us. Employer partners tell us that the benefits they get from working with us are significant and their employees love volunteering with our schools and helping young people lead better lives.