Midlands alumni urged to join state ‘old school tie’ networks

NEMCON initiative will boost student career confidence and academic success

The North East Midlands Collaborative Outreach Network (NEMCON) is to fund an initiative boosting state students’ career confidence and academic success by linking them with inspirational alumni.

The network will work with the leading education charity Future First to enable partner schools to build a lasting community of former students whose untapped skills and experience will benefit the current generation of students and help them make the crucial link between their studies and future careers.

The alumni from a wide range of professions and vocations  can act as motivational education and career role models, work experience providers and mentors and support schools to prepare young people with the skills necessary to succeed in work.

The £3,000 scheme aims to build students’ confidence that ‘people like them’ can succeed in their chosen career, boost motivation to work hard in school now and encourage students to aim for higher education.

By the end of the summer term, current students in three of NEMCON’s partner schools will have an opportunity to meet alumni who attended North East Midlands higher education institutions.

Participating schools include Tibshelf Community School in Doe Hill Lane, Tibshelf, Derbyshire, The Pingle School in Coronation Street, Swadlincote, Derbyshire and Noel-Baker School in Bracknell Drive in Alvaston, Derby.

Alumni already signed up include a Pricewaterhouse Coopers accountant, a Cabinet Office civil servant and a consultant orthopaedic surgeon.

The initiative builds on Future First’s proven work developing alumni communities in more than 400 state secondaries nationwide. Future First/YouGov research shows alumni are vital in motivating students to succeed with 75 per cent of students attending a Future First led event say they are inspired to work harder in school now.

Christine Gilbert, Executive Chair of Future First and a former Ofsted Chief Inspector, said there was a huge need to support state educated students to make the difficult transition from school to work and to drive more ambitious thinking about their expectations of work in the modern world.

“Every state school student should have the opportunity to succeed in life after school, regardless of their background,” she said. “Many schools are already harnessing the skills and experience of alumni as role models who inspire and motivate current students. If students see people like them have succeeded, they are more likely to believe they can too. They work harder and have higher expectations of success. We want more schools to see the benefits of using their alumni as a powerful resource.”

Sabina Talib, NEMCON Collaborative Network Project Officer said, “Raising the aspirations of a young person is a difficult and challenging task. We need to use a variety of approaches and Future First provides a unique opportunity to use relatable role models who attended the same school.

“When looking at successful individuals, young people may concentrate on their difference as their reasons for success, maybe they went to a better school or live in a better area. But if they are from the same school and same area, then a young person is more likely to see their own potential and what they are also able to achieve.”

Gary Wallis, leading the Raising Aspirations programme for Tibshelf Community School, one of the participating schools,  said, “We were extremely keen to get involved with Future First’s scheme. A network of past pupils with all their valuable experience will be vital in helping us to broaden current pupils’ jobs horizons and equip them for the world of work.”

Future First research shows :

Ex-state school students are ten times more likely to view themselves as unsuccessful compare with their privately educated peers. [1]

70 per cent of 16 to 19-year-olds think it will be hard to get a job when they leave school or college. [2]

Nearly 39 per cent of 16 to 19-year-olds don’t know anyone in a job they would like to do. 3

More than 10 million British adults are willing to support current students at their former state school or college. 4


Alumni from the following North East Midlands higher education institutions which are affiliated to NEMCON should sign up to Future First by clicking the ‘Former students’ link on the website www.futurefirst.org.uk

Bishop Grosseteste University

Buxton and Leek College

Central College Nottingham

Chesterfield College

Derby College

University of Derby

Loughborough College

New College Nottingham

University of Nottingham

Nottingham Trent University

Stephenson College

Vision West Nottinghamshire College


For further information,visit www.futurefirst.org.uk or contact:

Mwila Mulenshi, Senior Programme Officer. 0207 239 8933  mwila@futurefirst.org.uk

Sue Crabtree. Press Officer. 0207 239 8933   sue@futurefirst.org.uk

For out of office hours queries contact :

Alex Shapland-Howes. Managing Director, Future First. 07432 714226 alex@futurefirst.org.uk


About Future First.

Future First is a leading national education charity with the vision that every state school and college should be supported by a thriving engaged community of former students who help schools do more for current students.

Future First works in 400 state schools and colleges across Britain enabling state schools to harness the talents of alumni to inspire and support current students as career and education role models, work experience providers, mentors and e-mentors, governors, donors and fundraisers and as volunteers more widely.

The 150,000 former students  registered with Future First to stay connected with their former state school or college include leading employers, celebrities and everyday heroes in a range of careers from the professions of law and medicine to vocations like plumbing and photography and recent school leavers now in further education.

Every day, Future First alumni are acting as relatable role models to students in their old schools with inspirational and achievable stories.



The North East Midlands Collaborative Outreach Network is a collaborative network funded through the HEFCE National Networks for Collaborative Outreach initiative.

The aim of the network is to develop and deliver a co-ordinated approach to working with schools and colleges to support and promote access to higher education. The network will support teachers and advisors to prepare their learners for higher education and help their learners make informed decisions in regard to their futures.






[1] 3 vs 33% thought that people who went to their school would be ‘very successful’ YouGov Survey Results for Future First, 2013, Sample Size: 2040 UK Adults.

[2]  YouGov Survey Results for Future First, 2011, Sample Size: 510 16-19 year olds

3 YouGov Survey Results for Future First, 2011, Sample Size: 510 16-19 year olds.

4   YouGov Future First poll  2011