Our Stories

Here you'll find a sample of the many ways in which our member schools and colleges engage their alumni to support current students.

Schools

The positive impact of former students at Madani Schools’ Federation

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19 November 2019

The positive impact of former students at Madani Schools’ Federation

Imtiaz Patel, Deputy Head of Madani Schools’ Federation, talks to us about the positive impact of former students. We are a federation of two schools, Madani Boys School and Madani Girls School. The schools are relatively small, both with ‘good’ Ofsted ratings and high student performance, especially in the Girls School. We’re an Islamic faith school with students from many different ethnic backgrounds and approximately one third of our students on free school meals. Through joining Future First I’d like to see former students who work in a range of employment sectors and job fields to come in and speak to our young people through events like assemblies, award evenings and careers fairs. It would also be valuable to use... Read more
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Opportunities and Life After School Options at Great Torrington

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13 September 2019

Opportunities and Life After School Options at Great Torrington

Sandra Peters, Personalised Learning Manager at Great Torrington School, explains how alumni can help current students figure out life after school. Great Torrington School is a predominantly rural school for students aged 11-16. Many pupils bus in from local villages, with a number coming from the small town of Torrington and the larger nearby town of Bideford too. We have lower than average FSM percentages and higher than national average SEN with statement or EHC plan students. We were lucky enough to receive the Future First support free of charge as part of our partnership with Next Steps SW and started working with Future First in 2018. Since starting our membership, we have invited alumni in for a number of... Read more
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The Benefits of Alumni at Soham Village College

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11 September 2019

The Benefits of Alumni at Soham Village College

Nick Oakhill, Careers Manager at Soham Village College, explains the benefits of alumni in school.  Using alumni has definitely helped with some of the issues that our school faces. Due to our rural location, a lot of our students cannot see the opportunities that are out there. This is not just limited to post 16 options but also thinking about future employment. In comparison to students in cities, such as Cambridge, Soham students have limited access and awareness about career pathways and the labour market. We are conscious as a school that there are issues of social mobility in the area and we want to make students realise that there is a bigger world out there. Alumni are one part... Read more
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The Streetly Academy and Future First

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04 September 2019

The Streetly Academy and Future First

Vicky O’Connor, careers lead at The Streetly Academy, talks about their partnership with Future First. I was brought in to The Streetly Academy to lead on the careers programme within the school; the head and SLT are very passionate about raising the aspirations of the pupils and wanted to improve their current careers programme by having someone who was dedicated to this full time. Before I came in to the school the provision was quite ad-hoc and minimal, whereas now the careers programme is implemented across all year groups and events and activities are scheduled frequently across the year. I began by creating a questionnaire to find out what the goals and aspirations were of our pupils, we then used... Read more
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Oxbridge aspirations at Outwood Academy Danum

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18 July 2019

Oxbridge aspirations at Outwood Academy Danum

Outwood Academy Danum in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, hosted an event for Year 9 students, inviting three former students back to share their journeys from Outwood to Oxbridge. The event was an inspirational session for a small group of Year 9 students who the school believe have the potential to apply to Oxford or Cambridge one day with hard work and dedication. The three former students prepared PowerPoint presentations on their journey from Year 9 to Oxbridge which they shared during the session. Claire Du Puget, HeppSY Administration Officer at the school, talked us through the itinerary for the session: Three of our Oxbridge Alumni visited Outwood Academy Danum on Friday 24th May 2019. Each alumnus discussed their Post 16 and... Read more
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The Importance of Former Students at Wickersley School and Sports College

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10 July 2019

The Importance of Former Students at Wickersley School and Sports College

Rachel Mullins, Careers & Post-16 Transitions Manager at Wickersley School and Sports College, tells us why former students are so important in helping to inspire current students. Wickersley is the biggest school in Rotherham with over 2000 students, including a Sixth Form, so students range from age 11-18. It’s a very successful school, in the top high achieving schools in South Yorkshire. The school is still a comprehensive with a mixed selection of students with varying abilities. We wanted to work with alumni because we’ve always had a culture where students really do value Wickersley so there have always been former students coming back to help in school and support our current students. Personally, I took a group on a... Read more
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Engaging Alumni at Newcastle Sixth Form College

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26 June 2019

Engaging Alumni at Newcastle Sixth Form College

Mark Carton, Marketing Manager at Newcastle Sixth Form, tells us about working with Future First and engaging their alumni community. Newcastle Sixth Form College is a state of the art £23m facility dedicated to A levels in the heart of Newcastle City Centre. We offer a broad range of A Levels and Access to Level 3 qualifications, and work with students across the region from Teesside to North Northumberland with a focus on clear career progression into HE, Degree Apprenticeships and Employment. Each year we have opportunities for former students to come back and share their experiences with current students. We wanted to see if we could track the destinations of our students beyond university and HE into employment to... Read more
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Improving Aspirations at Highfield Leadership Academy

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22 May 2019

Improving Aspirations at Highfield Leadership Academy

John Hooper, Information, Advice and Guidance Officer at Highfield Leadership Academy, talks about the impact alumni can have on current students. The majority of students at Highfield Leadership Academy live very locally and there’s a strong history of parents and grandparents also having come through the doors here. There’s quite a high number of pupil premium students with some from deprived areas of Blackpool, though we also have students from more affluent backgrounds so it’s a real mix. Within Blackpool and specifically in our school there’s an issue with students having low aspirations for the future. With generational unemployment in some families, pupils don’t always have the ambition to get out of that cycle and those with the motivation to... Read more
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Challenging career stereotypes with Waldegrave School students

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13 March 2019

Challenging career stereotypes with Waldegrave School students

Waldegrave School is a comprehensive in London for girls aged 11 – 18. From 2014 we opened a co-educational sixth form. We are a high performing school and in 2016 we were voted the top comprehensive school of the year by the Sunday Times Parent Power supplement. Waldegrave consistently performs well in the borough of Richmond and we are proud to specialise in Science and Maths. We decided to work with Future First as we wanted to use alumni to challenge both student and parental stereotypes of certain jobs. We want to emphasise that there are a number of different pathways and careers areas available to our young people. When we launched our new Sixth Form we wanted to have... Read more
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Jo Richardson Community School talk relatable role models

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15 February 2019

Jo Richardson Community School talk relatable role models

Jo Richardson Community School started in 2002 with just one year group. We now have a purpose built building and have expanded to 10 form entry. Our sixth form is large with 177 young people, so it has been a key focus for us when working with our alumni. We are based in a deprived area with a high percentage of students on free school meals and a high percentage of students with parents who have never been to university. Our main priorities for working with former students are providing relatable role models and raising the aspirations of our students. The only graduates lots of them have ever encountered are the teachers at school and doctors. It is essential for... Read more
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Prescot Primary School and their Future First experience

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20 November 2018

Prescot Primary School and their Future First experience

Our school is situated in Knowsley and serves a diverse range of children. Our motto is “putting the learner first” and we consider this in everything we do with our children. That’s why we took up the offer from Future First to work with them as part of their pilot in primary schools. We wanted to broaden our children’s horizons by taking a proactive approach to showing them the numerous pathways available in the future. Lots of our children have quite a narrow awareness of the world of work or things they might like to do after school. We knew that giving them the opportunity to meet former pupils of our school and volunteers who work locally would not only... Read more
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Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Primary School shares their story

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14 November 2018

Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Primary School shares their story

Our school is a large Catholic Primary School situated in Kirkby, Knowsley. We started working with Future First because we were still in touch with a lot of former students and wanted to make better use of these connections. Our school has a real family centred ethos. Lots of our parents are former pupils themselves and the community is very supportive. We thought we’d have a good chance of people being willing to come back into school to raise the aspirations of our children and broaden their horizons. The workshops the children took part in, raised their self-esteem massively and widened their ideas of what they could do in the future. The fact that the volunteers were from the local... Read more
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Fighting misconceptions with Stoke High School Ormiston Academy

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22 October 2018

Fighting misconceptions with Stoke High School Ormiston Academy

Stoke High School Ormiston Academy has been an academy since 2013 and we are a school that has challenges. The proportion of students that are eligible for pupil premium or who have special education needs is above the national average, and a high percentage have English as a second or foreign language. We also battle with a misconception that those who live in the IP2 postcode, in which the school falls, are unlikely to achieve. We decided to start working with our alumni to challenge this stigma and provide relatable role models for our young people to meet. The more I have met ex-students, the more I can see evidence that the assumption that they won’t be successful is simply... Read more
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Frances Bardsley Academy and Future First

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12 October 2018

Frances Bardsley Academy and Future First

Frances Bardsley Academy (FBA) is an all-girls school in Havering with a rich history stretching back to our beginnings in 1906. We have a diverse cohort at FBA with a huge variety of over 40 languages spoken by our students. Employability is an issue in Havering so we try to prepare our students for the world of work as much as possible, focusing on confidence and careers to support their futures. With a gap in women going into STEM subjects, we also encourage our students in these areas from a young age. As a former student of FBA myself, I often talk to students about my school days and know that they appreciate hearing about my experiences. So when the... Read more
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Why did Saint Benedict Catholic Academy, Derby choose Future First?

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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... Read more
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Oaklands Catholic School and Sixth Form College, Waterlooville, tells its story

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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.... Read more
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Tendring Technology College, Essex, tells its story:

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12 February 2018

Tendring Technology College, Essex, tells its story:

“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... Read more
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Colleen tells her story

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26 January 2018

Colleen tells her story

Future First is pioneering a three-year project that will see alumni support a group of students from Year 9 through to Year 11. Participating students have been specially chosen because their schools believe that they will benefit the most from this opportunity. Former students will work with the group in a series of bespoke Future First workshops to raise their aspirations and help them overcome barriers to achieving their potential. The Employability Skills Project, funded by Rothschild & Co through their UK Charitable Giving Programme, is taking place at schools in Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cornwall and Newcastle. The project will see these students benefit from the support of former students with similar experiences to them, throughout a crucial stage in their... Read more
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Kingsbury High School, Brent, tells its story

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11 January 2018

Kingsbury High School, Brent, tells its story

“Looking at our Year 13s, I can see that the Alumni Day has had an enormous impact on them. It gave them role models, targets to aspire to and an insight into professions that they might not otherwise have considered.” – Andrew Mitchell, Aim Higher Manager Kingsbury High School is an inner London state school with academy status, in the borough of Brent. We have over 2000 students, with just over 400 in the sixth form. We decided to start working with our alumni to enhance the induction programme for new Year 12s. We wanted the new sixth formers to meet former students who could inspire them, give them the drive to succeed and set their mind on emulating their... Read more
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Ormiston Forge Academy, Cradley Heath, tells its story

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23 November 2017

Ormiston Forge Academy, Cradley Heath, tells its story

At Ormiston Forge Academy, we make sure all of our students have a careers interview in Year 11 and that they get lots of support with thinking about their futures. We have a rising number of students who go on to Higher Education. At the moment, around 70 students apply to university and higher apprenticeships. This year, one student went on to do a degree level apprenticeship in Surveying, which is great as they’re quite competitive. We’re planning on inviting him to come back and talk to current students about his experience in the future. I first started thinking about how I could work with our former students when we had a launch meeting in school to discuss how our... Read more
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St Dominic’s Sixth Form College, Harrow, tells its story

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26 October 2017

St Dominic’s Sixth Form College, Harrow, tells its story

Angela Inglese, Assistant Principal: “St. Dominic’s Sixth Form College is a Catholic Sixth Form College in Harrow. We have approximately 1200 students aged between 16 and 18 and around 100 members of staff. The college is very diverse. We are very popular in the local area so the rest of our intake is from a range of ethnic backgrounds. We are very proud to have been named The Sunday Times’ Sixth Form College of the Year for 2017. We decided to start working with our alumni about five years ago. We signed up to Future First because their ethos really resonated with us, particularly around the power of role models and the impact former students can have broadening young people’s... Read more
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Eastbury Community School, Barking, tells its story

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06 October 2017

Eastbury Community School, Barking, tells its story

Stuart Gander, Head of Careers Education: “Eastbury Community School is an all through school for three to 19-year-olds and there are roughly 1,850 students (primary school all the way up to sixth form). We are in one of the five most deprived areas of the country, and a large proportion of our students come from ethnic minority groups. We are a specialist maths and computing school and the number of pupil premium students is above the national average. We were recently voted the kindest school in the UK. We have been working with Future Fist for four years now, with the aim to inspire young people by inviting alumni back for all careers related events at the school. Events include... Read more
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Bodmin College, Cornwall, tells its story

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26 September 2017

Bodmin College, Cornwall, tells its story

Jayne Smith, Raising Aspirations Coordinator: “Bodmin College is an 11-18 in Cornwall. The area we’re in is the lowest quintile of students who access higher education. It’s an indicator that we have work to do in terms of aspiration raising. I’m the Raising Aspirations Coordinator at the school. I took on the role because I felt working on this would help the students’ life chances by opening doors for them. Before this, I was the Head of Art at Bodmin College.  I kept in touch with ex-students and would ask them back to share portfolios with the sixth formers. Undergrads came in to school to talk about university life and we would take our students to meet them at the... Read more
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Highworth Grammar School, Kent, tells its story

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07 September 2017

Highworth Grammar School, Kent, tells its story

Freyja Danielsen, Sixth Form and Careers Manager: We are a girls’ grammar school in Ashford, Kent and we have a mixed sixth form. At Highworth, as well as motivating students to work hard, we want students enjoy their experiences and want to study here. A few years ago and after graduating from university myself, we began to realise just how much universities use their alumni and could see how powerful former student stories could be. When we started to re-connect with people it became clear very quickly just how much our alumni were willing to do for us and more importantly, how much they truly wanted to do for us. We think it’s a brilliant concept and had heard that... Read more
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Grey Court School, Ham, tells its story

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16 June 2017

Grey Court School, Ham, tells its story

Bernie Corrighan, Careers Adviser: “Grey Court School is a mixed comprehensive for 11 to 18-year-olds. We opened a sixth form in 2014. We’re based in Ham which is one of the most deprived areas in London, despite being in the borough of Richmond upon Thames. Students come from a mixed background: there’re different cultures and races. Our free school meal percentage is in line with the national average and our last Ofsted rating was Outstanding. I’m the careers adviser at Grey Court and at another school. We’ve run careers events for the last 10 years. We wanted to link in more with our alumni to get role models for our sixth formers. Any alumni work we had done before was... Read more
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Skype Lessons from the Netherlands at Tiverton High School

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24 November 2016

Skype Lessons from the Netherlands at Tiverton High School

Tiverton High School has shown how alumni can play a key role in supporting students from a 1000 miles away. Former students can play a key role in the delivery of the core curriculum. Returning to their old classrooms, alumni enrich the curriculum by co-delivering lessons related to their careers, helping build students’ understanding of the real-world application of their learning whilst boosting their motivation to work harder at the same time. Tiverton High School is located in North Devon. Since many of their former students have moved away from the area, the school set out to find a way to involve alumni in the curriculum remotely. They decided to organise a series of talks, in which alumni use Skype to... Read more
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‘Send a Selfie’ at The Bridge Academy

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24 November 2016

‘Send a Selfie’ at The Bridge Academy

The Bridge Academy in Hackney has shown how a simple campaign involving recent leavers can be used to inspire current students. The school launched its ‘send a selfie’ campaign in October. They asked former students to take a selfie in front of their university building, to inspire current students considering the university route. The pictures will be displayed at the upcoming sixth form open evening, to show parents and students that students from The Bridge Academy end up at top universities. The featured picture is of Tyronne Ellis, in his first year of Business Studies at Birkbeck, University of London. This is just one example of the ways in which The Bridge Academy has harnessed the talents of its alumni... Read more
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Mentoring for High Achievers at Warden Park Academy

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16 November 2016

Mentoring for High Achievers at Warden Park Academy

Warden Park Academy, in Sussex, has worked with Future First for three years. They have harnessed the support of their former students in a whole host of ways, most recently as career speakers, mentors, and donors. In October, the school launched their Highly Able Mentoring Scheme. The programme involves intensive interaction between a former student who specialises in a specific subject area and high attaining Year 10 students. They have kicked off the programme with Luke Mitchell who is currently at university. The first session took place at the end of October, in which Luke co-taught a lesson on romantic poetry. He then ran an afternoon session focused on Literacy Criticism for 30 high attaining students. Due to great feedback from... Read more
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An Introduction to Sixth Form at Thomas Hardye School, Dorchester

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30 September 2016

An Introduction to Sixth Form at Thomas Hardye School, Dorchester

Thomas Hardye School, a secondary academy in Dorset, has been working with Future First since May 2016 to build an alumni community. They already have over 200 students on their network, including lawyers, managers, electricians and university students. In September 2016, Future First supported the school to run a day of workshops involving alumni for students on their first day of sixth form. The majority of students who took part are studying A Levels and hope to progress into further education, but many of them have limited exposure to adults in jobs they would like to do. The workshops aimed to broaden students’ horizons and motivate them to work hard by introducing them to former students who had gone through... Read more
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Alumni drop-in sessions at Ernest Bevin College

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16 August 2016

Alumni drop-in sessions at Ernest Bevin College

Ernest Bevin College is an 11-18 comprehensive in Tooting, London. The school have been building an alumni community with Future First since 2013. Enrichment afternoons are timetabled for sixth form students every Wednesday so that students can take part in a valuable activity within their normal timetable. Staff at Ernest Bevin have historically struggled to resource the afternoons and staff haven’t had the time to organise activities that would keep the boys in school. Rose Banks, sixth form study manager, worked with Future First to use the school’s growing alumni network to plan inspiring sessions, inviting former students to a timetable of talks each Wednesday. Each week, a former student returns to school and speaks about their pathway, from school to... Read more
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Raising Aspirations at Newall Green High School

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16 August 2016

Raising Aspirations at Newall Green High School

Newall Green High School is a mixed 11-18 comprehensive in Manchester. The school has been working with Future First for three years to grow a community of former students and embed a community culture across the school. According to the Social Mobility Index, the area has one of the worst records for social mobility in England. The school report that there are generations of unemployment in the area and that they want to give students and their families support to find out what career options are out there. The staff at Newall Green do fantastic work to help broaden students horizons. A ‘success wall’ lines the main entrance where former students appear on posters designed to inspire students as they walk... Read more
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Building Motivation at Wellfield High School

Wellfield High Sdchool is a secondary school in Leyland for 11-16 year olds and has been...

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16 August 2016

Building Motivation at Wellfield High School

Wellfield High Sdchool is a secondary school in Leyland for 11-16 year olds and has been building an alumni network with the support of Future First since September 2014. owing a period in special measures, exam results have improved remarkably, but raising aspirations remains a key challenge for the school. The school leadership selected 30 Year 10 students who were lacking in confidence to take part in Future First’s Building Motivation programme. Through a structured programme of three workshops, students were exposed to a range of inspirational alumni. Co-designed with teachers in the school, the programme also responded to local needs. For example, the school wanted to hear from alumni from BAE Systems- the largest local employer- as well as... Read more
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E-mentoring at St James School, Devon

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02 August 2016

E-mentoring at St James School, Devon

St James is a growing 11-16 comprehensive in Devon, with approximately 695 students. After a highly successful year in 2014, they have continued to work with Future First to grow and gain value from their alumni network, which now numbers over 350 former students. In 2015, St James embarked on an e-mentoring scheme targeting students allocated pupil premium to motivate and inspire them about life at school and beyond, as well as providing study advice and revision tips. In combination with other measures, e-mentoring has proved instrumental in giving Year 10 Kaydie the extra confidence and motivation to boost her grades, She has been more focused leading into exams. After talking through her options with her mentor, Alli, Kaydie is now... Read more
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Alumni in the Curriculum at Felpham Community College

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16 June 2016

Alumni in the Curriculum at Felpham Community College

Since 2013, Felpham has been working with Future First to expand its alumni network and invite former students in to share their knowledge and experience. Felpham aimed to boost the engagement of Year 9 students in their science lessons by involving scientific learning in their careers. This focus on science through alumni engagement also chimes with growing calls from businesses and government to upskill students in STEM subjects. The first week saw a visit from Victoria, an interior trim planner at Rolls Royce. During the session, students looked at the materials science which Victoria uses in her job on a daily basis. The students had the opportunity to explore areas such as product testing by conducting ‘elongation tests’ on sample... Read more
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Learning to game at Oathall Community College, Haywards Heath

Oathall Community College, Haywards Heath, has been working with Future First since 2013 to engage former students...

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06 May 2016

Learning to game at Oathall Community College, Haywards Heath

Oathall Community College, Haywards Heath, has been working with Future First since 2013 to engage former students and invite them back to support current students. Former student, David Amor, went back to school to speak to an A Level Computing class who were completing their first big piece of programming coursework. The class teacher hoped that by learning from an expert the students would gain a deeper understanding of the scheme of work and also of the wide variety of jobs that are available to them. David delivered an engaging presentation about his career as a computer games developer and talked about factors that make a good computer game. Much to the students delight, he spoke about candy crush and the possible... Read more
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Radio 1 DJ heads back to school

In February, 2016, Future First took part in Radio 1's 1 Million Hours campain, which aims...

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06 April 2016

Radio 1 DJ heads back to school

In February, 2016, Future First took part in Radio 1’s 1 Million Hours campain, which aims to encourage young people to give up time to volunteer in their communities. The campaign kicked off with Future First taking Radio 1 presenter, Scott Mills, back to his old school, Crestwood College in Eastleigh, to speak to Year 8 students about the possibilities of a career in media. The event was a fantastic success. Scott spoke about his experience at school, and his persistence to find work experience on local radio channels. He was made honorary Deputy Head Boy after chatting to current students about his career path which took him from Hampshire local radio to acting, an appearance on BBC TV’s Strictly Come Dancing and presenting Radio 1’s... Read more
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International Women’s Day at Ark Helenswood Academy

ARK Helenswood Academy is one of Future First's 'In House' schools, which sees a Future First...

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03 March 2016

International Women’s Day at Ark Helenswood Academy

ARK Helenswood Academy is one of Future First’s ‘In House’ schools, which sees a Future First staff member working on site to rapidly embed a culture of alumni engagement across the fabric of the school. The school have made great progress and have have invited alumni back to support in the curriculum, to speak in assemblies and take part in inspirational workshops. For International Women’s Day, Helenswood’s Head Girl organised an inspiring alumni event for her year group as they prepared for their GCSEs and leaving Helenswood.  Future First helped her make the event a reality by briefing teachers on facilitation techniques, reaching out to former students to come and share their stories and creating  resources. The event resulted in fantastic feedback from... Read more
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Employers

Jamal talks to us about our Employability Skills Programme in partnership with Rothschild & Co

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27 November 2019

Jamal talks to us about our Employability Skills Programme in partnership with Rothschild & Co

Jamal, former student of Orchard Bristol School, talks to us about participating in the Employability Skills Programme in partnership with Rothschild & Co. I didn’t really enjoy school at all if I’m honest, other than playing sports. I did extracurricular sports; in fact, I was in every sports team the school offered! When it came to thinking about future careers I had so many ideas of what I wanted to do once I left school but I never really got to the bottom of what I truly wanted, there was no one specific thing that I stayed focused on. The Future First workshops helped me in that I saw people who actually went to my school achieve great things, earn... Read more
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The Multiple Benefits of Mentoring

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07 October 2019

The Multiple Benefits of Mentoring

Nick Strong, Managing Director at HPS Investment Partners, explains why he partnered with Future First to pilot a new mentoring project, and why he thinks mentoring is hugely beneficial to students and mentors alike. My initial connection with Future First was with Deji Davies (Managing Director at J.P. Morgan) who is a member of the trustee board. We had set up mentoring projects together previously and I was talking to him about how I wanted to get back into it. He suggested Future First as a potential partner so I got in contact to begin creating the pilot. I first started mentoring at South Camden Community School (now Regent High School) when I worked at Rothschild & Co. Deji and... Read more
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Why Callum Joined the Taylor Wessing Mentor Scheme

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16 August 2019

Why Callum Joined the Taylor Wessing Mentor Scheme

Our Careers Insight Days at Taylor Wessing offer a unique opportunity for students to develop their skills and confidence. As a volunteer, I helped to guide students through each workshop – sharing their experiences and acting as a role model. I really enjoyed the experience, so when I heard about the mentoring programme and the opportunity to build an ongoing relationship with the students, I was very keen to get involved. I enjoy working with less socially mobile students who face greater barriers in their education and career prospects than other students. I thought that having an ongoing relationship with such a student might mean I could help them work out what they want to do in the future, encourage... Read more
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A Wellcome Partnership with Future First

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09 July 2019

A Wellcome Partnership with Future First

Helena and Daisy, Graduate Trainees at the Wellcome Trust, talk to us about the benefits of our Employer Partnership with them. Wellcome has worked with Future First for a long time, inviting students and schools to career insight days here at our offices. As an organisation we’re very much focussed on health and science and a big part of that is trying to engage diverse groups of young people and give them an understanding of the many career paths that studying science can offer. Our Education and Learning team in particular has aims to improve science education, both formal and informal, in the UK and we’re very much engaged in the community in which we work whether in Camden or... Read more
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The Benefits of Work Experience

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13 May 2019

The Benefits of Work Experience

Antony, currently studying A Level History, Geography and Government & Politics at Reigate Sixth Form College, tells us about his week of work experience with ARC Pensions Law – an employer partner of Future First. I’ve always know that I didn’t want to go to university, at least not in the traditional way, so I thought an apprenticeship could be a great alternative to finding my perfect career. I knew I’d have a lot of free time during the summer months between AS and A Level that I wanted to use productively and so, with an apprenticeship in mind, I set my sights on work experience which I thought would be a great taster of what an apprenticeship might be... Read more
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Taylor Wessing tells its story

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19 July 2017

Taylor Wessing tells its story

  “Taylor Wessing started working with Future First seven years ago. We were attracted to the charity because of its focus on social mobility and also because it was a start- up at the time. It’s in our culture to recognise and support innovation. I’m the lead on Taylor Wessing’s social mobility programme and our partnership with Future First is an important part of that. Future First runs our Career Insight Days for Years 12 and 10 students. Around 40 students from five/six different schools take part each time and we run three a year. Schools from all over the UK are given the chance to send students along – we’ve even had schools from Wales travel to London. These... Read more
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Inspiring City Role Models

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07 September 2016

Inspiring City Role Models

2014/15 was the start of a two year partnership with the City of London Corporation. The project took City workers back to their old schools in the City’s neighbouring boroughs to bring the curriculum to life, running 13 sessions for over 500 students. The programme also signed up 511 City workers to support their old schools across the UK. In 2015/16, we ran 38 sessions with even more City role models and students involved. In 2008, Vanessa Vallely founded the business networking site www.wearethecity.com as a vehicle to help city women to connect. She is also a professional and sought-after motivational speaker. After connecting with Future First, Vanessa attended her first event at Haggerston School in Hackney, and has since... Read more
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Insight Days at The Wellcome Trust

   

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06 September 2016

Insight Days at The Wellcome Trust

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Alumni

Sean shares his knowledge on international business with current students

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28 October 2019

Sean shares his knowledge on international business with current students

Sean Morgan, alumnus of City of Norwich School and City College Norwich, tells us why he went back to school for our Commerce in the Classroom workshop. I grew up in Norwich and was an okay student, not particularly academic but I knew what I needed and worked towards those goals. I changed my mind a few times regarding what I wanted to do in the future; I wanted to go into the police force and then wanted to be a journalist. However, an hotelier came in to our school and gave a talk about the service industry. The key things for me about the service industry was feeling that I wasn’t limiting myself in terms of what I could... Read more
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Anne-Marie Canning on the benefits of returning to her old school

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25 October 2019

Anne-Marie Canning on the benefits of returning to her old school

Anne-Marie Canning MBE talks to us about her experiences in school, her career journey and her reasons for returning to her old school. School was very different when I was there, it wasn’t Outwood Academy Adwick it was Adwick School and then it was North Doncaster Technology College. It was a huge school with 2500 children in a village outside of Doncaster and it was having a tough time. It was struggling but they were brilliant with me; I had a couple of English teachers who were really supportive. Up until I got my GCSEs I was a very much a middle grade student, very well behaved, and then I got really good GCSEs and stayed on for Sixth Form... Read more
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Florentina shares her career journey with Newham College students

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23 October 2019

Florentina shares her career journey with Newham College students

Florentina, Assistant Project Manager at Transport for London, tells us why she returned to her old college to take part in Future First workshops. I enjoyed my time at school in Romania because I learned new things and gained skills that will help me in the future. After secondary school I completed two years of University and gained a Professional Therapist Certificate before moving to London and attending Newham College. When I studied at Newham College the language barrier was one of the challenges that slowed me down, added to the fact that I had to take care of my children and do the school run every day which did not give me too much free time to study; I... Read more
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How Amanda is helping her community by returning to her old school

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05 September 2019

How Amanda is helping her community by returning to her old school

Amanda Mansbridge, former Sydney Russell School student, tells us why she went back to inspire current students and help the community by offering legal advice. I was a hard working student in school, always going above and beyond what was required. After leaving school I studied to qualify as a lawyer whilst working in the legal field which benefited me as I was able to gain working skills whilst completing my studies. I signed up to support my old school to show students that if for any reason you’re not able to take the university route it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t achieve what you set out to do; I want to make sure students look at all the options... Read more
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Why Dave Joined the Future First Network

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04 September 2019

Why Dave Joined the Future First Network

Dave, former student of Sir Bernard Lovell Academy, tells us why he joined the Future First volunteer network. When I was a student at the school I’d like to think I was hardworking. I kept my head down in most subjects, but I had a particular interest in Drama, Art and English. Drama was more of an outlet for my creative side. In the last year of school, things were tougher and I had some personal issues to deal with that meant I only completed one out of my three A-levels. Looking back, although my time at the school was positive, on balance, I’ve always felt that if there had been more support in the form of counselling or mentorship... Read more
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Blackpool Transport Services volunteer at Unity Academy’s ‘World of Work’ Day

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18 July 2019

Blackpool Transport Services volunteer at Unity Academy’s ‘World of Work’ Day

Keith Basson, People Development Team at Blackpool Transport Services Ltd, tells us about his experiences volunteering at his old school. We started working with Future First after they contacted Blackpool Transport customer experience team about volunteering at Unity Academy’s World of Work day. The opportunity was given to me by my manager and I was especially keen as Unity Academy was where I went to school (in its former names Warbreck High School/ Beacon Hill School). I attended the first volunteering day back in March 2018 at Unity Academy feeling confident in talking to young people as I have lots of experience coaching young Blackpool FC Academy Players. At the Unity Academy workshop, we worked with Year 10 students on... Read more
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Fiona shares her career experiences with current Witchford students

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18 July 2019

Fiona shares her career experiences with current Witchford students

Fiona Smith is an alumnus of Witchford Village College and has attended two world of work days. In November 2018 and March 2019 Fiona returned to inspire a group of Year 9 and 10 students. While I was at school I was quite a shy student and was not particularly confident. I had a tough time and was bullied during the first few years of school, leading to being timid and guarded. Although I did not enjoy the first few years of school, by GCSE I began to have a change of mind set. I made some new friends and began to take control of my own time which really helped so by the time I left Witchford Village College... Read more
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Jed returns to school to support current students

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11 July 2019

Jed returns to school to support current students

Jed is an Applications Engineering Manager living on the Isle of Wight. He left City of Norwich School in 1994 and recently returned to volunteer for a World of Work day to support Year 10s. I really enjoyed my time at City of Norwich School. I feel lucky that I had a good time in school and was really well engaged. At school, I had a clear picture of what I wanted to do so after leaving I attended the University of Plymouth to study Materials Engineering. As part of my degree I completed a year out in industry which was really valuable and I learnt lots about engineering and the world of work. After graduating, I went straight into... Read more
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Callum returns to St Anne’s for British Science Week

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29 March 2019

Callum returns to St Anne’s for British Science Week

I was invited to speak at my old primary school, St Anne’s, as part of British Science Week. I loved my time at primary school when I was younger so I was excited to return and share my passion for learning with the children currently there. I thought it would be good to give something back and hopefully light a few fires in the children about what’s possible in their future. I spent the afternoon talking with each of the classes from Year 3 to Year 6 about my journey since leaving school and how I use science on a day to day basis in my role within Performance Psychology. We discussed all the different types of science that exist... Read more
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Hashim shares his career path with current students

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07 February 2019

Hashim shares his career path with current students

Hashim Din volunteered at Fir Vale School as part of an alumni workshop discussing his path to university. The workshops were part of the HEPPSY+ programme, which aims to increase the number of young people from underrepresented backgrounds in higher education.   I was an academic student; I always wrote up all my notes straight away because that’s how I learnt well – getting on top of my homework meant I could focus on what I enjoyed like photography club. I took part in lots of volunteering like school council, showing guests around and anything I could be to get involved with. I wanted to make the most out of my time there. I enjoyed learning but I didn’t necessarily... Read more
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Jordan returns to Chantry High School

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20 December 2018

Jordan returns to Chantry High School

When I was at school, I was aware of the stereotype associated with the area and part of me believed that I faced the same destiny. I was also worried about what would happen as soon as I walked out of the school gates, and thought I was a failure for not having it all figured out. I had to work hard to get my GCSE results, particularly in Maths. It took me two attempts and the support of an incredible teacher, Mr Davies to get me a Grade C. After leaving Chantry Academy, I studied for a Level 3 BTEC in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship. In part, this was influenced by a project I designed to create year books and... Read more
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Brad tells us about returning to his primary school

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14 November 2018

Brad tells us about returning to his primary school

I really enjoyed my time at school. I loved to learn and to know things. Even outside of school I’d still be learning. I used to ask “why?” more than anything else. The teachers probably found that very annoying! I was lucky, I really did enjoy every day. I had a great group of friends and nice teachers. I’m now a dad and my children go to the same school I did and they’ve had a great experience. The way the teachers make themselves approachable and deal with every situation is incredible. The school goes above and beyond to support their children which is why I wanted to get involved. It was my way of saying “thank you” and giving... Read more
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Jyssica returns to All Saints Catholic High School, Kirkby

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27 September 2018

Jyssica returns to All Saints Catholic High School, Kirkby

Jyssica Murphy went to All Saints Catholic High School and is now a Health and Safety Advisor. I was in middle sets at school. I misbehaved sometimes but for the most part I enjoyed school. Maths was a particular challenge for me as I doubted my confidence. My teacher was really good and he always pushed me and told me that I could do it but I struggled to believe him and looking back, I wish I’d applied myself more. After leaving school I re-sat my Maths GCSE so I could that I could apply for a college course. I was disappointed that I didn’t pass in school when I knew that I had the potential to do better. I... Read more
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Paul’s story

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09 April 2018

Paul’s story

“School was a very positive place for me. There were lots of opportunities available to us, especially for sports, music and drama. I was really pleased that I was at Meadowhead, because I had friends at other schools that didn’t have nearly as many opportunities as we did. I was involved in sports club, drama and school productions. I was also a form and year representative and a member of the school council. I wanted to make sure I took advantage of every opportunity available to me. One of the main challenges at school was having to be organised and keep on top of everything, which is something that I didn’t really think about at that age. I currently lecture... Read more
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Toyin’s story

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28 March 2018

Toyin’s story

“I am currently undertaking a hospital training post in oral maxillofacial surgery, restorative and special care dentistry. This is a mixed speciality post, which provides lots of exposure to different aspects of dentistry. After I finished my year of compulsory training in general dental practice, I wanted further exposure in the hospital setting. I am now in my second year of hospital training and really enjoying it. Working in the hospital environment can be challenging, but this really appeals to me. The treatment that I help to provide is generally more complex than that of general dental practice. This is a great opportunity for me to enhance existing clinical skills and develop new ones.  The patients treated in hospital often... Read more
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Jenny’s story

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09 November 2017

Jenny’s story

“I was quite a conscientious student at school. I worked really hard in class and took part in all sorts of extra-curricular activities, from performing in school productions to captaining the netball team. I was Head Girl, a real privilege and a game changer for me in terms of my confidence. In retrospect I worried unnecessarily about my coursework and exams. I don’t regret it but I could have been a little more laid back at times! Back in the 90s when I attended Orleans Park School they didn’t have a sixth form. I decided to attend a private day school in Hammersmith for my A-levels. After leaving school I went to the University of Bristol to study Economics and... Read more
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Sarah’s story

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13 October 2017

Sarah’s story

“I was lucky that I found school work relatively easy, but this meant I wasn’t one of the cool kids. In Year 7 I was one of those students always putting my hand up, but I soon learnt to keep my head down to avoid attention. My ambition when I was at Oathall was to become a vet. This was something I decided in Year 9 after being inspired by spending time on the school farm. I definitely didn’t have a great love of science from a young age, so saw studying the sciences as a means to an end in becoming a vet. I studied every hour possible for my A levels and ended up getting straight As. I... Read more
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Dave’s story

“I guess I’ve had a bit of an odd journey. I was the uncool, nerdy kid...

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19 May 2017

Dave’s story

“I guess I’ve had a bit of an odd journey. I was the uncool, nerdy kid at school. I was rubbish at sports, I came last in everything. I was kind of focused but it was the end of Year 9 before I realised I actually had to do some work. So I ended up with a string of Bs and Cs. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do when I was at school. I originally wanted to be an army officer. When I was 20, I decided to do some A levels at Cornwall College in Chemistry, Physics and Biology. It was then that I realised I had an aptitude for computer programming. I did a BTEC... Read more
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Serkan’s Story

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26 August 2016

Serkan’s Story

“I was always very creative at school. I always thought I’d be an architect or designer but from year nine on wards, I started to develop a keen interest in science. It was then that I started to go to after school sessions with alumni in various healthcare professions. We heard from physios, nurses, psychiatrists, engineers and specialist doctors. We took part in group discussions about the day-to-day experiences of medical professionals. They gave us advice about what we should study, the grades we needed and the extra things like work experience or even the importance of shaking hands. In schools like mine students don’t know the importance of these things. The advice they shared gave me the foundation to go... Read more
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