12 October 2018

Frances Bardsley Academy and Future First

Rebecca Woods, Careers Manager, talks about why her school decided to work with Future First and the benefits their young people have seen since meeting relatable role models and learning about the world of work:

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 idea of working with Future First and engaging our alumni was first floated by the Head, I saw the value in it straight away.

Our alumni love coming back to the school and we’ve had success in them returning for our Career of the Month talks where they discuss their careers and the pathways they took to get there. When designing a brand new 16+ Day for Year 10 students, I was keen to involve alumni in this as well.

We had a total of 10 alumni volunteers at our 16+ Day from many different pathways and different stages of their careers. It was fantastic for our students to be able to hear from a variety of alumni all on one day and to speak to people who had sat in the same seats as them.

We had overwhelmingly positive feedback from both alumni and students about the day. Students said speaking to alumni broadened their horizons by thinking of the variety of options they have after school. They also wanted to give back by joining the alumni network when they leave.

There was a buzzing atmosphere after our 16+ Day with students talking about careers and their future – a great end to the academic year and a show of motivation as they go into Year 11. Already students have proactively approached me for careers advice, as they start to think about their future plans and what will motivate them for upcoming exams.

My experience with Future First has been really positive and beneficial for the school. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with them.