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5 December 2014

When I grow up I want to be . . .

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by Caroline Cookson

Its not often I find myself in the company of the Captain of a Maersk Container Ship, an Accountant from PepsiCo, an Engineer from Aston Martin and a Prison Officer; but such was the rich diversity of the volunteers present at today’s Primary Futures event I attended at a school in Oxfordshire.

The aim of the day was to inform primary schoolers about the wide variety of careers available to them and how strength in literacy and numeracy would play an important part of their career journey.

Volunteers from a wide variety of backgrounds spoke with insight and enthusiasm about their own areas of expertise, how they got into their respective roles and how educational skills translated into the ‘real world’.

Today also helped quash many stereotypes, for the girls in particular. It was fantastic to see so many strong female role models, from Air Vice Marshall Elaine West (the highest serving female in the RAF) to a female motor engineer and the COO of a global bank.

The children were incredibly enthusiastic, with endless questions and comments. For me it was a revelation to see how clued up these young people already are about the world of marketing and communications. They could name brand after brand and had an impressive grasp of the different routes brands can take to talk their audiences including the role digital and social media plays.

Primary Futures is part of the Inspiring the Future initiative – a free service that makes it easy for employees to volunteer to speak at schools and colleges. It already has 17,500 people taking part across the country. It has been launched in association with the National Association of Head Teachers. Both Primary Futures and Inspiring the Future use a secure online platform to link volunteers with state schools across the UK. All they ask is for each volunteer to give one hour, once a year in a school near their home or place of work – it makes such a difference and it’s important to enlighten the next generation about what’s out there for them.

As technology has evolved and the roles in our sector become so diverse I think there is a real need to educate the next generation about what’s available to them – careers education in the UK is slowly improving and if you can spare an hour I highly recommend that you get involved.  

Register to get involved here – www.inspiringthefuture.org  

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