Pupils connect with positive role models during Schools Alumni Week

Children across the UK were able to connect with former pupils of their schools and colleges during ‘Schools Alumni Week’, a new campaign designed to empower, inspire and give confidence to children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The education charity, Future First launched the week, offering schools access to the resources, support and guidance they need to improve student motivation and life chances through their alumni community.
The charity launched the annual awareness programme in response to the fact that that almost half of the UK’s most disadvantaged pupils do not know anyone in a job they’d like to do.
With just 4% of teachers stating that they feel equipped to advise young people on the diversity of careers available, the charity is aiming to encourage schools to engage with former pupils, allowing them to demonstrate career options to children from similar backgrounds to them.

During the week, many volunteers revisited their former schools showing the pupils how their journey developed, what barriers they faced and how they overcame them to succeed in their careers.

Weavers Academy in Northamptonshire was one of the schools participating in the events during the week, inviting several formal pupils to the school. Kirstin McRae-Smith, the Assistant Principal, Head of Sixth Form, explains: “We have loved connecting with our alumni, discovering where their paths after Weavers have taken them. Our students have really appreciated speaking to adults who have been in their shoes and shared their experiences. One of the students came out of the day with a beam on his face stating, “this has just made me even more positive about what I want to do”.

Future First’s Partnerships and Development Director, Duncan Grant commented: “The week has been a huge success and really shown schools the wonders of an alumni group as an untapped resource. When young people don’t know anyone in a job they want to, it impacts their confidence and understanding of their true potential.
“At Future First, we often say, ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’, which is why it’s critical that young people from all backgrounds are able to access opportunities to hear people who once sat where they now sit, talk about their careers. Hearing from relatable role models from similar backgrounds, allows them to perceive careers from a whole new perspective whilst realising the possibilities of what they really can be.”
Schools Alumni Week will now take place every year, building further momentum as the charity continues to campaign for even more schools to discover the powers of engaging with a community of past pupils.

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