Alumni inspire teenagers to aim high

August 24 2018

Secondary students at a Bristol school are to be linked with volunteer former students who can act as relatable role models offering work skills as part of a scheme to boost their chances of achieving a fulfilling career.

The Employability Skills Project funded through The Rothschild & Co Charitable Giving programme and run by the education charity Future First will equip current students at Orchard School with skills they need to succeed in work and help them overcome barriers to achieving their dream job.

The young people in Year 10 will work with alumni from similar backgrounds who will coach them in building self-awareness, confidence and drive and help them increase their understanding of their future career options. The £45,000 initiative will focus on developing students’ verbal communication and written skills and help them make informed decision about their future.

The proportion of students in the area not going onto education or employment after leaving school is higher than the OECD average.

Future First research shows alumni acting as relatable role models have a powerful influence on the aspirations and confidence of young people and most students say that alumni events help them to understand that ‘people like me’ can be successful.

Julia Hinchliffe, headteacher of Orchard School, said: “We are so excited to be working with Future First to develop our students’ aspirations.  Orchard School students are determined and hard-working, and they are already building skills in leadership at school. " The next step is to ensure that all our students feel confident they can excel in higher education, apprenticeships and employment in the future. We are thrilled that Rothschild are choosing to fund the Employability Skills Project, as part of their charitable giving programme.”  

Matt Lent, chief executive of Future First, said: “When 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 wide benefits of using their alumni as a powerful resource, broadening the horizons and raising aspiration.”

Sophie Edgerley-Harris, charitable giving coordinator at Rothschild, said: “Rothschild & Co’s Community Investment programme aims to raise and realise the aspirations of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. We are proud to continue our longstanding support of Future First. We look forward to seeing the impact of the employablity skills project and are delighted that our employees will also have the opportunity to contribute, through our employee volunteering efforts.”