Although nobody doubts that having business volunteers in school is a brilliant way to connect students with the world of work, it isn’t always easy, or practical, to arrange this. The new government strategy states that by 2020 ‘Schools should offer every young person seven encounters with employers - at least one each year from years 7 to 13’. Below are some creative ways to introduce students to real world role models.
1) Use technology. By using Skype, students can be linked to a whole host of volunteers from different industries. The benefits of this are it can take place in different lessons so students aren’t being taken off timetable plus business role models are not being asked to travel to your location and potentially be out of their place of work for a long time, instead it is just the length of the Skype session. Using Skype also means you can access people from further afield than your local area therefore introducing students to more role models than they might otherwise come across.
2) Business pen-pals. Taking the old idea of pairing students up with pen-pals from other countries and bringing it up to date. Ask local companies if they would be interested in corresponding with students who have an interest in a particular field. Students can write letters or emails (via the school email system so that they can be monitored, or via the teachers’ email address as attachments) to mentors from the world of work. Students can ask questions about the role, qualifications, advice on different routes from someone who actually does the job they are interested in.
3) Link with subjects. One of the most inspiring ways to use business volunteers is to incorporate them into your curriculum. It isn’t always easy to get students off-timetable for drop down days or careers fairs so why not use the volunteers to put a real-world slant on subjects the students are already taking. This can help students to see the purpose behind what they are studying and provide more engagement.
4) Parents evening. Invite volunteers in to be based with teachers of subjects that link to their roles. Like the previous idea, this can help students see the purpose behind what they are studying but can also help the parents understand what roles different subjects can lead to. This would work particularly well around options choices.
5) Use University volunteers. Many universities have volunteering programmes where students will do community work. Although students aren’t technically ‘business volunteers’ they are certainly role models who can be used to inspire students and encourage them to Aim High. Students who are interested in getting onto a PGCE will need to show they have had experience in schools so these are also a good source of volunteers.
6) Have a dedicated week. If you really can’t commit time throughout the year to working with business volunteers, make use of national initiatives such as National Careers Week (4th-9th March 2019 –http://nationalcareersweek.com/). Use this as your time to get the whole school involved in it and perhaps use some of the previous ideas to engage students with the world of work.
If you like sound of these but are still not sure you have the time to organise or run them then Own Futures can do this for you. Contact us to discuss your requirements and to get a quote. Use the 'contact us' form or email firstname.lastname@example.org