Tackling the problem of NEETs in Cornwall

Education charity Future First is offering to help state schools across Cornwall after official research called for more schools to develop alumni programmes to tackle the problem of NEETs in the county.

The research, commissioned by Cornwall Council & the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), highlighted the need for young people at risk of becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training), to have access to inspiring and appropriate role models.

The report also described how schools’ alumni networks in the region are “often dormant or not fully realised, and the focus is usually on where a past student is working, rather than the skills or experience they can bring”. 

Lorraine Langham, Chief Executive of Future First, a charity specialising in helping UK state schools build alumni networks, said: “Building a strong and sustainable alumni network which is properly focused on preparing young people for life after school can be more difficult than it may appear.

“That’s where Future First can help. We have a decade of experience and have supported over 1,200 schools to build thriving networks. These benefit the whole school and especially help disadvantaged students in seeing a future that can be theirs, and provide the tools and information they need to get there. Last year we connected more than 70,000 students with past pupils, helping to build their motivation to study, resilience and confidence to succeed.”

The charity has signed up more than 267,000 former students nationwide to stay connected with their old school and already works with around a third of state secondary schools and colleges in Cornwall, including Saltash Community School. 

Emma Gue, Careers Lead at Saltash Community School, said: 

“We have been part of Future First for over 6 years and have a really varied, committed alumni who have contributed in so many ways to enrich and support the learning of our students from Years 7-13.

“We have held a range of different events and opportunities involving our alumni over the years and our students have benefited enormously from their insights and the inspiration that they give them to their own careers plans and futures.”