Our Purpose

Our vision is a world where a young person’s start in life does not limit their future.

Why we exist

Britain has a deep social mobility problem. We are working to change this.

Only one in eight children from a low-income background is likely to become a high earner as an adult. Across the UK young people’s experience and opportunities are closely linked to the status of their parents and the area they grow up in.

Our research shows that nearly half of pupils from the poorest backgrounds (on free school meals) don’t know anyone in a job they would like to do. We know this affects young people’s perception of their own ability, their expectations of future success, and the extent to which they value their school work.

Meeting former students helps to change this, boosting young people’s confidence and motivation, and helping to transform their life chances.

Our mission is 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.

Access to relatable role models broadens students’ horizons, helping them to imagine a world beyond their own. Having grown up in the same community and sat in the same classrooms former students are ideal volunteers to be such role models.

For generations, private schools and universities have effectively harnessed the talent, time and support that former students can offer. Since 2009, Future First has been making it easier for state schools and colleges to do the same.

How do we we make it happen?

How do schools use their alumni?

Benjamin has confidence in the future

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17 March 2021

Benjamin has confidence in the future

Benjamin is a Year 12 student at Vyners School in Uxbridge. Inspired by a workshop he attended with several former students representing careers in the RAF, law, finance and health care, he spoke to us about his growing confidence for the future.

My experience of meeting former students from my school was quite an interesting one because you’re more sympathetic to what they are saying – they’ve been through similar things to what you’ve been through, they’ve come from a similar area and it makes the experience more personal.

We had a former student talk about his career working for Lloyds Insurance and this was interesting because he was telling us about the financial markets and how he operates. It certainly wasn’t a career I was thinking about in great detail, but listening to a former student talking about that particular sector gave me a wider understanding of some of the options open to me.

I felt like I was looking for a career in politics and economics perhaps – before meeting the former students – but after the talk, I felt more interested in the economics side. It basically gave me a balance and showed me the options in Finance too.

Meeting alumni has shown me what I can achieve because they’ve grown up in similar circumstances to me – they’ve done it, and so can I. It gives me more confidence to proceed with what I want to do. Seeing alumni who have been in my place at school, it makes me feel better about myself, because I can see where these people have gone and what they have achieved with their lives and how their experiences are similar to mine. I feel I can use that and develop on that to help inform my career choices in a more interesting way.

I think the biggest thing I can take away from the workshop and meeting alumni is the focus on skills. I’m more confident on the academic side, but I think developing the more softer and transferable skills for different careers is interesting because we’ve seen today a wide variety of careers from law to finance, the military to health and how they all need the same basic skills to help them perform well in their jobs.The main thing is that it re-emphasised and reminded me of the importance of the soft skills – it was there at the back of my mind but it just needed bringing to the fore-front which I appreciated.

I would very much like to return as an alumni speaker myself and talk to former students because it’s good to show people a variety of different careers that they can go into, and speak from your own personal experience, especially being so fresh out of the school – your experiences won’t be too dissimilar to theirs.

It makes a difference hearing from a former student because it makes them more relatable, because the classroom you are sitting in and listening to them, quite possibly they sat in and that makes it more personal and relatable.

After the workshop I’ve certainly become more confident and have a better approach to my career and my schoolwork because I can see where these people have gone to, and I know I’m now thinking about the right things and I’ve got a decent idea about what I want to do. It’s given me the encouragement to carry on developing some of the skills I’m currently working on.

Contact us to discuss how we can support your school to work with former students. 

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Nigel meets alumni at Sydney Russell School

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25 January 2021

Nigel meets alumni at Sydney Russell School

Nigel is a Year 10 student at Sydney Russell School in Dagenham, East London. Nigel took part in a Future First alumni workshop in December, introducing Year 10s to pathways post-GCSE, and this is what he had to say.

Meeting former students has been very informative because I was confused about what I wanted to do after GCSEs and it really gave me the knowledge I needed. I think it will be beneficial to me in the long-run.

It makes a difference hearing from a former student because they are more relatable to our circumstances and they’ve been in our environment when they were my age, so I’m more inclined to listen to them than someone else.

Now I know that former students have been successful, it lets me know that I have a chance to be successful as well. I feel like it was very inspiring and I will be able to become my best self.

It has improved my confidence and my motivation, by letting me know where they made their mistakes so that I can avoid them. For example, one of them talked about revising from Year 10 – I think that’s one of the things I need to focus on – so that has motivated and inspired me to go forward and revise consistently. 

Before I met the former students, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do – I had an idea, but it was a bit confusing. The thing I’ll take home from today is that I will be able to be successful in the future – because I have seen their stories –  and as long as I stay motivated and consistent in my studies, I will be able to reach whatever goal I have.

Contact us to discuss how we can support your school to work with former students. 

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Siya and Nir share their experiences of the Future Me Mentoring Programme.

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05 May 2020

Siya and Nir share their experiences of the Future Me Mentoring Programme.

Siya and Nir, from Sydney Russell School, share their experiences of having a mentor through the Future Me Mentoring Programme.

Siya, Year 12 student

I think it was very useful having a mentor because they were closer to my age, I felt like I could relate to them more than my teachers. I think it’s encouraging to see someone who has been in the same position as you become successful.

Before I took part in the mentoring programme I had an idea of what I wanted to do in the future but after the programme it was much clearer. I was able to research different options and it was really helpful to hear from someone who’s actually experienced an apprenticeship.

One of the skills that I developed throughout the programme was my communication, I was able to talk about what I like and what I want to take further in life. I feel more confident about the future, before I just had an idea about what I wanted to do whereas now I’m able to visualise myself in a career; being able to see yourself in the future makes you believe in yourself a bit more.

I would recommend the mentoring programme to a friend. I think there are many young people in the same position as me who are unsure about their future and programmes like these can help give you clarity on what you want to do and help you explore different steps and how to get where you want to be.

Nir, Year 12 student

I found having a mentor really useful because the sole purpose of them being there was to help you with things like careers advice; it’s great to have a dedicated mentor for the programme to specifically ask questions to.

Originally I wasn’t sure what sort of career I wanted to go into but after hearing my mentor’s stories about working at Ernst & Young I found his role in business consultancy really interesting. It is something that would fit my current skill sets and something I’d find interesting and challenging to work towards in the future.

I think the mentoring programme made me more confident that I could be successful in the future. We planned the different routes that I could take and when you see the steps outlined it makes the end goal seem much more realistic. It also helped that our mentor was successful in his field and was able to achieve the sort of job that we might be aiming towards whilst being from the same background as us.

 

In the future I hope to study at university and I’ve gained a lot of tips on how to do so from the mentoring programme. It has helped me improve my decision making especially because my mentor has also gone through the same decisions in his past so I can learn from his experiences.

 

Contact us to discuss how we can support your school to work with former students. 

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