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towards making a difference for state school children

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For former students

Join your school or college alumni network, or give back to young people in other schools across the UK

For schools/colleges

With our expert guidance and support, create a network of relatable role models to inspire your students.

For employers

Become a valued employer partner and help us create impact while meeting your own business objectives
IF I SIGN UP WHAT AM I COMMITING TO?

Once signed up, there is no obligation to get involved straight away. We understand that life is busy and time can be hard to find. The time spent volunteering ranges from one-off commitments like taking part in a workshop to ongoing support such as becoming a mentor.

You’ll be asked to identify the ways in which you might like to help as part of the sign-up process and your school or college will send occasional updates, news and opportunities to support the students, so you can pick and choose depending on what works best for you.

Once signed up, you can login to your profile area at any time to manage your preferences and update your details.

I'VE MOVED FAR AWAY FROM MY OLD SCHOOL, CAN I STILL HELP?

Yes! There are lots of ways to support your old school from afar. You could appear on an inspirational poster showcasing your chosen career, you could record a video talking about what you’re up to now or even mentor a student online. Check out this case study from Tiverton High School to see how they use their alumni who have moved abroad.

WHAT IF FUTURE FIRST ISN'T CURRENTLY WORKING WITH MY SCHOOL?

No problem, you can join our National Alumni Network instead!

WHO CAN BE A ROLE MODEL?

Everyone! We want to reconnect with former students in diverse careers and courses. Whether you’re still at university, studying for an apprenticeship or in a career, we want to hear from you.

WHAT IF I DIDN'T ENJOY MY TIME AT SCHOOL?

There will be lots of students who are struggling with particular parts of school life. A current student may relate to your story or benefit from hearing how you overcame barriers in life.

WHAT DOES FUTURE FIRST DO WITH MY PERSONAL DATA?

We are committed to ensuring that alumni personal data is secure. You can read more in the school/college supporter privacy policy here, which must be agreed to before signing up to support a school/college.

We have put technical and organisational measures in place that are designed to safeguard and secure the information that we collect. Future First’s systems and processes are fully compliant with the Data Protection Act and EU General Data Protection Regulations. Future First has been awarded the Cyber Essentials Plus certification and we are registered with the ICO.

WHY SHOULD SCHOOLS GET INVOLVED?

By signing up to Future First, you’ll be joining a national cross-sector movement to fight educational inequality.

We’ll work with you to build a thriving alumni community that will help you do even more for your students. We will provide resources, share best practice and guide you through the process of embedding alumni engagement across the school.

Using our secure web platform which is fully compliant with all data protection requirements, you will be able to build a sustainable network of former students that you can access for generations to come. Over 90% of teachers from member schools tell us that the work they did with alumni increased students’ knowledge about career and education pathways and that hearing from alumni improved ability to make informed decisions about their futures.

Alumni can support you:

• As role models
• As careers speakers
• Supporting lessons
• With work experience opportunities
• As mentors
• In volunteering
• As governors
• As fundraisers

WHATS PROVIDED AS PART OF MEMBERSHIP?

Our ConnectEd programme will help you build, engage and sustain a thriving network. We offer the expert support, technology and resources needed to harness the power of your alumni community, delivering significant, measurable impact for a small investment of time and money. Through themed activities, tailored support materials, and our expertly crafted timesavers and tools, our programme and specialist team can make a real difference for your learners, school and wider community. As a ConnectEd member you will receive:

● Expert support from a dedicated Alumni Programme Manager

● Access to a tailor-made alumni technology platform

● Unlimited posters showcasing the success of your alumni to display in school or college

● Three facilitated workshops with your alumni, delivered online or in school or college

● Staff training and support to deliver resourced sessions

● Digital resources including virtual work experience materials, timesavers and tools

● Access to employers, employer programmes and work experience opportunities

● A programme focused on those students you believe will benefit the most.

DO YOU OFFER ANY STANDALONE SERVICES?

In addition to our membership offer, there are a number of additional services that Future First can provide for a fee:

Workshops and assemblies

Future First offer a variety of alumni- based workshops and assemblies for students. All Future First events are facilitated by trained, experienced and DBS cleared staff. In all sessions alumni play the central role in offering informal advice to students and sharing their career and education experiences through discussion and practical activities.

• Our sessions are built around three key themes:
• Growing confidence, motivation and self-belief
• Information about next steps and jobs
• Linking the curriculum and life beyond school

Staff strategy and training sessions

Schedule a meeting or training session with one of our expert Alumni Programme Managers to get your alumni strategy off to a flying start. They will advise you on how to develop an effective alumni activity plan for the year, and give guidance for growing your network. We can train large groups of staff and governors on alumni engagement to embed a culture of alumni support across your school or college.

Alumni posters

Future First can source inspirational alumni posters that showcase the talents of your former students for students as they walk through your corridors. Each one has a photo and inspirational tagline such as, ‘I went to Grange Hill School and now I provide life saving medical care for my patients.’ Shruti, Junior Doctor.

WHATS THE SCHOOL/COLLEGE COMMITMENT?

We want to help every school and college build an alumni network that they will engage for the long term. To make this work, schools and colleges need to commit to making alumni engagement a whole school priority and dedicate staff time to running the programme.

Schools and colleges should appoint a strategic lead who sits in the senior leadership team to have oversight of the programme and an operational lead should be given approximately one hour or so per week to work with your Alumni Programme Officer to run things day-to-day. If you’re on core membership, your Alumni Programme Officer could come and run a training session at an INSET day or all staff briefing to make sure all staff know how they can benefit from alumni.

CAN YOU OFFER YOUR SERVICES FOR FREE?

As we are charity and operate on a non-for-profit basis, we unfortunately can’t offer any free membership packages. If cost is a barrier for your school or college, please get in touch as we would be happy to explore fundraising options we could pursue in partnership.

We are supported by sponsors and trusts to develop our current programmes, design innovative new programmes and packages that contribute to best practice and offer the latest thinking, tips and resources for our member schools and colleges.

WHAT WILL THE DATABASE PLATFORM ALLOW ME TO DO?

Our database platform is a core part of the service.

– It enables you to store your alumni data securely online and makes keeping in touch easy, so that you never lose track of what your students go on to do. Your network can update their information whenever they wish, and have full control of their preferences, which makes the system compliant with the Data Protection Act 1998 and EU General Data Protection Regulations.

– It allows you to collect all your leavers’ information as they go on to the next stage of their education, training or career.

– You’ll be given a link to a page where your school’s alumni can sign up. It will ask for their personal details, information about their education and employment, the year they left and what sort of support they’d like to offer to current students.

– You’ll be able to login to view all alumni details as your network grows. You can search and filter your network of former students in a range of ways, such as by leaving year, what they studied at university, or what support they would like to offer. For example you could look for students who have left since 2004, studied science at A-level, and are willing to act as a mentor.

– You can send direct e-mails, updates and invites to your alumni through the platform.

– You can create activities, invite alumni to RSVP, and keep a record of attendees.

– You can invite ‘friends’ of the school or college to sign up.

– Our Digital Toolkit is also available on your portal. We continue to develop the toolkit in line with best practice, providing detailed guidance, lessons plans, templates and resources to support alumni sessions; mentoring relationships; and work shadowing. The toolkit will also support you to recruit and communicate with alumni.

HOW DO I SIGN MY LEAVING STUDENTS UP?

Our staff will provide you with the help and support necessary to make sure all of your leaving students are signed up.

Your current students can either sign up via your bespoke online link, or you can upload your leaver data in bulk via a spreadsheet. Your signup link and instructions for the bulk upload are on the alumni portal under ‘sign up information’.

We recommend briefing your students on the purpose and benefits of joining your alumni network beforehand as they will be far more likely to respond to the tracking survey we send if they are expecting it. Check the toolkit for template materials.

HOW CAN I REACH OUT TO ALUMNI WHO LEFT LONG AGO?

There are lots of ways to reach out to your former students including:

– Using Future First’s press officer to contact local press
– Posting information on your website and social media
– Sending promotional materials to school or college staff and parents to sign up those they are in touch with

Get in touch to hear more ways of reaching out!

CAN OTHER VOLUNTEERS SIGN UP?

Our portal allows you to sign up ‘friends’ (such as ex-staff, parents and local employers) as well as alumni, so you can keep all volunteer data in one secure system. You can switch this functionality on in the ‘my account’ section of your portal. Friends sign up using the same form as alumni.

IS PERSONAL INFORMATION SAFE?

We are committed to ensuring that alumni information is secure. We have put technical and organisational measures in place that are designed to safeguard and secure the information that we collect, and our systems and processes are fully compliant with the Data Protection Act 1998 and EU General Data Protection Regulations.

Individual student records will only be accessible by staff of your school and Future First. Every member of Future First staff with access to the data receives full data protection training.

Future First has been awarded the Cyber Essentials Plus certification. We are registered with ICO and you can find further details in our privacy policy here.

CAN ANY SCHOOL OR COLLEGE IN THE UK SIGN UP?

Future First is currently available to any state-funded primary school, secondary school or college in England and Wales.

If you are interested in becoming part of the programme and are unsure about whether your school or college qualify, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss the different ways that Future First can support you.

MY QUESTION IS NOT ANSWERED HERE, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Get in touch! You can email info@futurefirst.org.uk and we will always be happy to talk in more detail about the service, what we can do for your school or college, and answer any queries you might have.
HOW CAN I SUPPORT FUTURE FIRST'S WORK WITH CURRENT STUDENTS?

There are a number of ways you can get involved as a Future First partner. From hosting career insight workshops at your offices, to supporting local schools to fund activities with their alumni community, we can work with you to develop a programme of activity that works for you. You may wish to sponsor events at the schools of your employees, so that they can give back to the next generation and tell them about opportunities in your sector.

HOW DO YOUR PROGRAMMES MEET OUR OBJECTIVES AND GOALS?

All Future First employer programmes tackle social mobility, and work to ensure that no child’s opportunities are limited by their background. Specific outcomes will vary from programme to programme, but you are likely to be addressing one or more of the following:

– Improving diversity of your talent pipeline
– Widening access to opportunities
– Developing employability skills
– Providing meaningful volunteering opportunities for your staff and their development
– Supporting your local community in a sustainable way
– Sharing expertise with the next generation, and improving awareness of issues important to your industry

All of our programmes involve a combination of staff volunteering small amounts of their time as well as a financial contribution for services so they can add welcome variety to a CSR offering. Find out more about becoming an employer partner.

HOW MUCH DO YOUR PROGRAMMES COST?

That depends on the scale. Though there are standard prices for career insight days, these will vary depending on who you would like to reach out to, how many events you’d like to run and what student numbers you’d like on each day. Bespoke programmes are costed on a case by case basis. Email info@futurefirst.org.uk to find out more.

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Markerstudy

Markerstudy is striving to improve opportunities for more young people by giving them exclusive insight into a career in the insurance services industry. 

Through a new partnership with education charity Future First, Markerstudy will offer state school and college students the support, advice and encouragement they need to consider a career in insurance services, allowing the business to connect with up-and-coming talent.

Wellcome Trust

Wellcome and Future First partner to deliver Career Insight Days for young people at state schools in London. Staff from across the Trust participate, including those from communications, research, grants and investments departments. The volunteers coach and support students in creative activities designed to build students’ confidence and to help them identify their strengths.

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Northern Power Women

Future First is working with Northern Power Women (NPW) to give the next generation the support and encouragement they need to make a success of their lives, while also allowing businesses to connect with up-and-coming talent. NPW was born out of a need to accelerate gender equality in the North and currently has a 60,000-strong network.

There are approximately 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.

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Governers for Schools

Governors for Schools is a national education charity that finds, places, and supports skilled volunteers as governors on school and academy boards. We work with schools and volunteers across England to improve education for children and young people through effective governance.

We have over 20 years’ experience matching volunteers with schools in need. Our skills-based matching service means your unique background and experience will be put to good use. Apply online and we’ll match your skillset to a school that needs you most.

 

Fast Futures

Future First is pleased to be supporting Avado Learning with its flagship careers programme: FastFutures. FastFutures is a ground-breaking online work-readiness and personal skills programme for young people (18-22) from diverse backgrounds designed to prioritise underrepresented groups that are finding it harder than ever to enter the workplace. Founding Employer Partners, including Legal & General, Astra Zeneca, BT, Barclays, Tate & Lyle, AO.com, Octopus Investments, Health Education England, provide funding and mentoring to deliver this unique programme free of charge.

Arc Pensions Law

As an Employer Partner, ARC Pensions Law supports Future First’s work by inviting Year 12 students from Future First’s network of schools who are eligible for free school meals or have parents who did not attend university to complete a week’s work experience placement at their London and Leeds office locations. Students have the opportunity to experience all aspects of a modern law firm, developing their professional and employability skills for a future career in law.

ZING were one of Future First’s original supporters and have remained a key partner and critical friend throughout our development. ZING have continued to advise on and support Future First’s technology development. ZING co-founders Chris White and Robin Tombs (currently) have also both served on Future First’s board.

Future First are partnering with Voi to help give young people first-hand insight into careers in STEM. Through our virtual insight days, and working in the local communities that Voi operate in, we will showcase the range of jobs available in the transport and technology sectors. These interactive sessions will help young people to feel more knowledgeable and confident about their futures and to develop their networking and employability skills through hearing directly from a diverse range of Voi employees.

State School Fundraising

State School Fundraising support state schools to build fundraising strategies, and have successfully helped a number of state schools to raise significant amounts. We are pleased to be working with State School Fundraising to pilot an approach to fundraising with alumni communities.

UBS have funded Future First’s In-House programme in the Bridge Academy, Hackney. The programme is designed to provide the school with hands-on support from Future First staff to embed an alumni programme across the school. The Bridge Academy has their own dedicated Future Fist Alumni Officer, who spends part of their time ‘in house’ at the school, helping staff to build and manage their network of former students and tracking the destination of students as they leave each year.

Since 2010, international law firm, Taylor Wessing, have worked in close partnership with Future First collaborating on a number of social mobility programmes. The most recent ‘Aspiration to Application’ programme provides students with careers insights, skills workshops, mentoring relationships and work experience opportunities. Simultaneously the school alumni networks project provides inspirational and relatable role models to students at their own schools. These initiatives aim to equip young people to reach their full potential.

Taylor Wessing and Future First have worked closely to develop this unique programme of social mobility events, carefully designed to provide the best possible outcomes for students and volunteers alike. Taylor Wessing’s professional volunteers are able to share their experiences and skills drawn from a wide range of career paths for the benefit of a young person’s social mobility. Moreover, these volunteering opportunities encourage Taylor Wessing’s staff and clients to take part in skills-based volunteering – developing their own skills at the same time as helping young people with low social mobility.

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Shawbrook Bank

Shawbrook Bank and Future First work together to inspire young people in state schools near reach of Shawbrook’s offices. This included supporting Future First to pilot working in Scotland for the first time. Shawbrook also encourage their employees to sign up to their old school or college alumni network.

Legal & General

Legal & General is a British multinational financial services company including investment management, lifetime mortgages, pensions, annuities, and life assurance. With our partnership, state school students with an interest in the financial services from Year 10-12 attend a virtual taster workshop. Acting as role-models in the world of work, volunteers from Legal & General participate in a Q&A panel and skills-building activities that develop students’ aspirations, employability skills and awareness of the world of work whilst providing an opportunity for Legal & General employees to gain awareness of issues regarding social mobility in the UK.

The Key and Future First partner to deliver Career Insight Days for young people at state schools in Plymouth and London. The whole day events aim to improve the employability skills and work readiness of Year 12 students. Staff from across the organisation volunteer their time, sharing their professional expertise in a variety of activities including CV writing, mock interviews and presentation skills workshops. Volunteers coach and support students, building their confidence and helping a young person understand the value of their own skills and strengths.

Gatenby Sanderson

GatenbySanderson is a UK leading people intelligence business advising public services, not-for-profit and education sectors. As an employer partner, GatenbySanderson supports Future First’s work with young people by contributing volunteers to the national and local alumni networks who attend our in-school and virtual workshops. Their expert staff are well placed to support young people with employability skills activities such as CV writing, psychometric testing, interview advice and tips on future careers. GatenbySanderson also supports the Future First central team with training requirements, business support and fundraising.

The multinational law firm Ashurst partners with Future First on the First Steps Programme. The programme sees 60 Year 6 pupils from Bonner Primary School in Tower Hamlets, London visit Ashurst’s London offices for a series of five insight mornings that provide pupils with aspiration raising experience and increased awareness of the careers available on their doorstep. Supported by over 40 Ashurst employee volunteers the interactive programme enhances pupils’ awareness of the types of jobs they might want to do in the future, develops their understanding of the steps to pursuing them and, begins to build the confidence and skills needed to excel in their academic and working lives.

Prince's Trust

The Prince’s Trust supports young people between the ages of 11-30 into employment; education or training, helping to build both confidence and skills.

In 2019, the Prince’s Trust embarked on a project with The Department of Health and Social Care to support 10,000 young people (between the ages of 16-30) into jobs in the Health and Social Care sector by July 2024 and it is partnering with Future First to ensure that those involved services are prioritised for upcoming Prince’s Trust courses and services.

 

WeAreTheCity

Future First is delighted to be working with WeAreTheCity, connecting inspirational messages from their Rising Stars award winners with students in our schools and colleges. WeAreTheCity is a free, centralised hub and includes gender-related news, a networks directory, calendar of events and conferences, returnships, business schools, inspirational women profiles, HeForShe interviews, giving back and jobs.

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Careers and Enterprise Company

Future First has received funding from the government’s Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC) since 2016 to boost social mobility by helping prepare young people for the world of work.

Rothschild & co

Rothschild & Co. Charitable Giving Programme support Future First to develop and implement an innovative employability skills programme supporting young people at risk of being NEET (not entering education, employment or training).

The Waterloo Foundation

Future first is delighted to be working with The Waterloo Foundation to build alumni networks in schools across Powys, South Wales

Pears Foundation

The Pears Foundation plays a key role in supporting Future First’s core work. Our partnership with The Pears Foundation has underpinned our national expansion and our transition to a more self-financing operating model. Their support has enabled us to have a bigger impact on students across our network of schools.

Jack Petchey Foundation

The Jack Petchey Foundation have supported Future First since 2013, providing subsidies for schools with the Jack Petchey Foundation Achievement Award in London and Essex, which is now our largest region.

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Garfield Weston

Garfield Weston Foundation is one of Future First’s flagship partners. Garfield Weston’s support has been vital to supporting our network of schools reach more of their former students and deepen the impact they have had on current students. The partnership has also played a key role in our transition to a more self-financing operating model. In 2021, Future First was awarded a grant of £50K to continue to extend our reach and impact and support more young people in state schools and colleges.

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Esmee Fairbairn

Future First is delighted to be working in a ground-breaking partnership in Camden, delivering a community-led mentoring programme to support school inclusion work thanks to generous support from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

The Dulverton trust

The Dulverton Trust has supported Future First since 2014. Our first partnership focused on supporting Future First’s work in the North-West. Currently, the focus is on underpinning Future First’s transition to a more self-financing operating model.

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Role Models

Having grown up in the same place and attended the same school, alumni are immediately relatable to current students. This makes them ideal role models. Alumni can talk about their educational or career experiences and inspire current students to achieve their potential.

The Commercial Education Trust was one of the first supporters of Future First’s ‘Alumni in the Curriculum’ programme.. The programme sees former students return to their old classrooms to ‘co-teach’ elements of the curriculum, which relates to their jobs, demonstrating how the school curriculum links to the world of work.

This strand of our work has been developed to bring the curriculum to life and engage students by showing the practical application of learning.

Blagave Trust

The Blagrave Trust has supported the pilot of Future First’s In-House service. The project involves a Future First staff member working part-time on site to rapidly embed a culture of alumni engagement in each one. The In-House Alumni Officer for supports each school to build and grow their community of formers students to return to support today’s young people.

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Work Placements

Work experience is an invaluable opportunity for students to gain an insight into working life. Alumni can provide shadowing opportunities and placements, helping students gain not online more awareness of work, but also the skills they need to succeed when they get there.

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Fundraisers

Alumni can support their old school or college by raising money or donating to specific causes. This could be books for the library, music equipment or to fund educational visits for current students.

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Volunteering

Former students often have specific expertise to offer: from coaching a football team, to running after school clubs or designing a new garden. They can also help the school or college community to flourish by acting as governors, combining knowledge of the local community with experiences and skills they’ve gained since leaving school.

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Supporting the Curriculum

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 and boosting their motivation.

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Mentors

Alumni can act as mentors either online or in person, providing advice, support and guidance to students. Mentoring is tailored to the individual with specific goals in mind, offering students a purposeful new relationship to help overcome a range of challenges.

Arc Pension Law

As an Employer Partner, ARC Pensions Law supports Future First’s work by inviting Year 12 students from Future First’s network of schools who are eligible for free school meals or have parents who did not attend university to complete a week’s work experience placement at their London and Leeds office locations. Students have the opportunity to experience all aspects of a modern law firm, developing their professional and employability skills for a future career in law.