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.
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 schools use their alumni?
09 August 2018
Why did Saint Benedict Catholic Academy, Derby choose Future First?
Nicola Campbell, Careers Coordinator and English Teacher:
Saint Benedict Catholic Voluntary Academy is the only Catholic secondary school in the Derby area. We currently have around 1200 students and above average pupil premium numbers. Saint Benedict is a very diverse school where a great deal of languages are spoken.
We decided to start working with Future First because we had contact details for a significant number of our alumni, but weren’t really utilising these connections. I also knew how much I enjoyed receiving communications from my former secondary school and wanted to give our school alumni the same opportunities to keep up to date with what is happening and get involved.
Future First planned and delivered a World of Work Day at the school that focussed on increasing student knowledge of careers. Six alumni came along, giving our current Year 9 students the opportunity to meet people from a variety of industries, from a self- employed dance teacher to a business development director and even a child clinical behaviourist.
The day gave students the opportunity to speak to alumni who are all at different stages in their life, some who have been in established jobs for a considerable period of time, and others who are only just starting their journey. This meant our young people had their eyes opened to the variety of different options available to them when they leave school.
As well as getting to speak to alumni, our Year 9 students also spent time learning about misconceptions associated with different pathways, and had the opportunity to consider their own skills and how they might be useful in their future career. One of our former students was even kind enough to stay behind after the session and deliver a dance workshop in a Year 10 PE lesson.
I feel that the World of Work Day had a hugely positive impact on the Year 9 students who took part. They were interested in the workshops and senior leaders who were present commented on how impressed they were the interaction and engagement. There were lots of fantastic discussions going on and, based on pupil feedback, there seems to have been an increased sense of self belief amongst the students.
I think that all of our pupils benefited from meeting the alumni and one pupil has gone the extra mile as a result of the workshop. This pupil was particularly inspired by one former student, Rachael Stevenson, who works in the events industry. After the workshop had finished she got in contact with our careers adviser and asked whether it would be possible to be mentored by Rachael. Rachael has now kindly agreed to do this and I am sure that the mentoring is going to be of great value.
14 March 2018
Oaklands Catholic School and Sixth Form College, Waterlooville, tells its story
Angela McQuiston, Head of Careers:
“Oaklands Catholic School and Sixth Form College is an Academy school in Waterlooville, near Portsmouth. We serve a wide catchment area with students travelling from Portsmouth, Fareham and even Hayling Island. With this comes a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds.
We have been building our alumni network for the past three years and inviting former students back for occasions like ‘professional days’. Some alumni said freeing up a whole day was difficult for them, which is why we started hosting short talks during our 20 minute tutor/assembly time instead. We cast the net quite wide – simply suggesting a day of the week and letting former students choose the day that works best for them.
Future First helps us with sending out initial invites through the portal then I log in and confirm arrangements with alumni. Sometimes they are concerned about what they’re going to say to the students. I suggest keeping it casual and talking through their career pathway, what a day in their job looks like and then answering students’ questions. Former students are often keen to come back and speak to students again which is great!
Students told us they would like to find out more about two of our former students’ jobs as engineers so they are returning next term to lead a more intensive session with physics and maths students.
Another former student was even able to offer the students work experience placements and has offered to host a trip to see them in London, showing the students around the London Stock Exchange!
A really inspiring encounter happened recently when a former student speaker came to talk about the importance of work experience, having struggled to move forwards in her career without it. A student had an extensive chat with her afterwards and has subsequently managed to secure a work experience placement as a result. This was particularly significant for this student as she’s planning to head straight into training or employment rather than going down the university route. Meeting a former student who can inform her about how to get ahead in the world of work has been life changing.
We have had a really positive response from the students who have attended the talks. Seeing their enthusiasm for particular careers develop, as well as gaining experience and further insight into different career pathways is really great. The talks have certainly shown the students the variety of careers that are out there and got them thinking about their own pathways.”
12 February 2018
Tendring Technology College, Essex, tells its story:
"We are proud of our students’ achievements and there is no better way to motivate and inspire them than by sharing the successes and experiences of alumni. Future First provided a great tool to enable us to do this."
- Jake Tharp, Information, Advice and Guidance Leader
“Tendring Technology College is an 11-18 academy in North-East Essex with 1844 students altogether and 300 in the Sixth Form.
As a College we are proud of our students’ achievements and there is no better way to motivate and inspire them than by sharing the successes and experiences of alumni. Future First provided a great tool to enable us to do this.
Future First’s Core package enabled us to establish a careers programme that works for all our students. It allowed us to develop and refine our provision to best fit their needs.
Future First’s expertise helped our staff feel empowered to take ownership of our alumni programme and go forward with the DIY+ package.
We promote the use of alumni for a wide range of events here at TTC, and it is fair to say that the students gain a lot from speaking to ex-students. As a College we believe in promoting the successes of our ex-students to our current students to help motivate them towards their goals. Our busiest event, the ‘Year 10 Mock Interview Day’, allows us to invite in many alumni from a wide range of sectors to talk about their career path since leaving TTC. The students thoroughly enjoy the experience and also get to develop their own ‘soft skills’.
We’re proud to have around 500 alumni signed up to our network. We organise key communications throughout the academic year to keep former students up to date on what’s going on at TTC and advertise events to support students. We now have a well-established calendar with key events, and The Digital Toolkit makes it so much quicker and easier for us to run them.”