Inspiring the Future (ITF) www.inspiringthefuture.org was launched in 2012 with backing of major business and teaching organisations. The goal was to let pupils hear first-hand about the world of work from industry professionals from a wide range of sectors. Invitations to speak at schools have been traditionally extended to parents or local business people that have long standing connections with the institution. With the ITF website, teachers now have access to thousands of volunteers at the click of a button. Volunteers, ranging from apprentices to CEOs, pledge to give just one hour a year to a state school or college to speak about their job, career and the education route they took to get there.
Talks take a variety of formats. Teachers can filter their searches by sector or specialism, choosing activities that range from career insights to getting an industry perspective on CV writing. Allowing students access to people from a range of sectors, from construction to agriculture, has two major benefits: students gain first-hand insights and make better informed decisions about their subjects and career path; teachers also gain valuable understanding of many sectors of which they have little knowledge and experience.
Phil joined Inspiring the Future as director in 2013 at an exciting stage in its development. He helped grow the programme which now engages with 7,500 teachers and more than 18,500 volunteers. In total, Inspiring the Future has generated 68,000 individual invitations between volunteers and teachers.
Previously director of engagement at Localgiving.com, Phil has worked both in interactive television and at the BBC on a number of channels. He moved to the voluntary sector to work on youth projects. This led him to the charity Crimestoppers, where he headed up the youth team, and also to NESTA where he worked on education projects on innovation.
“This initiative specifically reaches out to experienced professionals at various locations within the construction industry, and brings their experience, expertise and excitement about the sector into the school environment. Young people can hence be inspired to pursue their future career in the construction industry. ‘Inspiring the future’ recognises that one of the most significant issues facing the construction industry at the moment is its failure to market itself to school children.”