Published on the 16/05/2023
> Launch year: 2014
> Age groups: Primary (ages under 12)
> How many schools are currently making use of it?: 250+
> Other tags: Has been evaluated, Is informed by research, Free of cost
> Technology: Video streamingDownload PDF
Website: Primary Futures
Teachers invite volunteers to take part in career insight talks (or chats) and fun activities like the Primary Futures 'What's my line’ guessing game which aims to challenge some of the ingrained stereotypical views children (aged 5-11) have about the jobs people do based on their gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background. The Primary Futures activities aim to help raise aspirations, motivate and inspire, improve attainment, and show primary-aged children what is possible beyond what they might be familiar with in their immediate surroundings.
When the programme began volunteers visited in-person, but now they also have the option in taking part in activities virtually through interactive online sessions (video streaming). This also means that schools have access to a much wider range of volunteers from across the country.
Description of technology
The online matchmaking service uses highly bespoke Salesforce Customer Relationship Management software to make it quick and easy for teachers and volunteers to connect. Primary Futures makes use of the Inspiring the Future database (also featured on this site). The online system uses the same technology used by many of the major retailers, online shopping, hotel booking etc. It also incorporates a sophisticated mapping function provided by Ordnance Survey in the UK.
Activities are delivered in-person and via interactive virtual sessions, supported by a range online resources. Schools can instantly search a national database of tens of thousands of volunteers, find people who suit their needs and the needs of their children and get in contact directly. They can search for people living in their area or across the country and narrow down their search by using filters to choose the most suitable volunteers for them: by the sector they work in; the subjects they studied at school or university; if they did an apprenticeship, started their own business or went to university; which languages they speak; of if they can speak about working with a disability.
How the resource makes career guidance more effective, efficient and/or equitable for students
All state schools now have instant access to tens of thousands of volunteers from across the country meaning that children can now get to meet a range of role models that previously had not been possible. Research undertaken by Education and Employers, the organisation behind Primary Futures, has shown that children's career aspirations are often based on the jobs their parents/carers do which can set limits of their ambitions for the future. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds often have less access to positive role models and Primary Futures changes this by giving them the chance to meet a wide range of role models. The online technology enables this to be done in an effective and efficient way. Primary Futures enables campaigns that focus on areas of greatest social disadvantage and actively address stereotypical thinking about which careers are suitable for children of different backgrounds.
Because the operating costs of Primary Futures are very low, it is possible to connect high volumes of schools with volunteers. Schools take the initiative and search the database to identify and connect with a volunteer without the need for support from an intermediary.