Liberal Democrat News 6th July 2012
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats
Clegg's army for aspiration
A new scheme to send an army of volunteers into state schools to give inspirational talks about their careers was launched by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on Monday.
The Deputy Prime Minister was joined by an array of famous faces and people with interesting jobs who are backing the plan, including entrepreneur Karren Brady, actor Joanna Lumley and head chef at The Ivy restaurant Gary Lee.
Everyone remembers the person who inspired them to follow their chosen career, but independent schools have much stronger links with businesses than schools in the state sector.
Research published this week by the Education and Employers Taskforce, an independent charity, shows that 80 per cent of independent schools regularly bring external speakers into their schools to boost the career aspirations of their students. 85 per cent involve employers in giving careers advice to students, through Careers Fairs or regular careers talks.
Many state schools lack the alumni links to give their students the same opportunities. The 'Inspiring the Future' initiative, run by the Education and Employers Taskforce, will play a key role in plugging this gap by connecting inspiring speakers with local schools.
The Education and Employers Taskforce aims to recruit an 'aspiration army' of 100,000 volunteers, allowing every state school in the country to access speakers from a range of sectors and backgrounds, reaching one million young people across the UK by 2014. The initiative is supported by key industry bodies including the CBI and the Association of School and College Leaders.
Inspiring the Future is part of Nick Clegg's focus on social mobility, to ensure that the school system as a whole promotes fairness and mobility, rather than closing down opportunities.
"Too many young people get the message that the best jobs are not for them," he said.
"Inspiring the Future will give state school students the chance to see, hear and make a connection with someone in a career or job they might not have thought about.
"The power of making connections that inspire young people is immeasurable and can be life-changing. Many successful people can point to a moment in their lives when they were inspired to become the people they are today," added the Deputy Prime Minister. "Now it's their turn to help young people fulfil their potential."
Evidence from Education and Employers Taskforce research shows that young people who have contact with employers at school, such as workshops and career talks, on average go on to earn 16 per cent more than their peers who had no such visits.
(For more info, go to: inspiringthefuture.org)