Virtual ways to engage with the world of work

Since early in the pandemic, working with schools across the countrywe have transformed employer engagement through our programmes to be virtual and interactive, through both live sessions and pre-recorded sessions.

Jonathan, a florist, stands beneath a floral arch he created. Kimberley, a construction worker, wears reflective clothing and crouches with a wheelbarrow in a cordoned area.

Log in or sign up to access our new pre-recorded resource for KS1/Y3: Budding Futures-Tackling Gender Stereotypes

One of the very big advantages of going virtual is that for the first time schools are no longer limited by their geography and have direct access to an amazing range of thousands of diverse volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences who can help motivate subject learning and inspire children, showing them the link between learning and the wider world, challenging stereotypes and inspiring them to believe in their future potential.

Our virtual offer is user friendly for teachers, parents and volunteers with safeguarding at its heart and flexible to accommodate home-learning, classroom-based learning or both simultaneously. 

Gillian Keegan MP, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, takes part in a Primary Futures virtual event

Children at South Parade Primary learn about the world of work from a graphic designer, an engineer, an MP and Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills

 

Host a live virtual session bespoke to your school 

We know the idea of streaming in volunteers virtually can be a little daunting. That’s why we’re on hand to help you plan and facilitate your first activity. We’ve supported and facilitated over 200 virtual live sessions across KS1 and KS2 and we’ve learned a lot along the way.

Top tips:  

  • Link an aspirational activity with awareness initiatives you already have going on, such as World Book Day, International Women’s Day or Science Week
  • Use filters to invite sector specific volunteers to connect the workplace to curriculum topics, for example see schools that linked with civil rights and polar exploration.
  • Start small – if this is your first virtual activity, consider starting with just 1 class and just 1 to 2 volunteers and then build up to panels of volunteers at whole-school assemblies.
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Can’t quite picture what a virtual live session looks like? Get a flavour:

Children participating in live virtual sessions have said:

“I learnt that lots of lessons you learn in school are useful in the long run.”

“It showed me that girls and boys can have the same job.”

“I learnt that it’s ok to not know exactly what I want to do right now.”

 

Pre-recorded virtual activities 

Many teachers have also told us what they need right now are flexible off-the-shelf activities to inspire and motivate children and keep them connected to their futures and the wider world.   

In response we are continuing to develop a range of pre-recorded resources featuring fantastic volunteers in interesting jobs, accompanied by discussion points and learning activities to ensure these encounters are still interactive. You can slot these half-hour videos into your timetable or add them to your virtual learning environments for flexible home-learning.   

Get a taster of a pre-recorded session with this TV & Tech Classroom Chats

Log in or sign up to access our library of pre-recorded resources on your portal, including:

Uplifting Futures – Tackling Gender Stereotypes (KS2)

In this c.35 min video, children get a peek into some familiar and unfamiliar jobs to turn gender stereotypes on their head. Following our popular ‘What’s My Line?’ job-guessing game format, children meet a female arborist, a male early years educator, a female subsea engineer and a male mental health nurse. Volunteers reveal what it’s like working in an industry dominated by the opposite gender as well as the skills that make them good at their jobs. They leave children with the message that they shouldn’t feel limited by their gender when imagining a world of possibilities for their future.

In optional extension learning activities, children can explore the core subjects and skills that cut across all jobs and consider their own preferences, design a campaign to encourage more boys and girls into particular industries and take a plenary quiz and reflective writing frame to consolidate learning.

Budding Futures – Tackling Gender Stereotypes (KS1/Y3)

Children consider what a builder or florist might look like before meeting Kimberley working in construction who takes us on a mini tour to meet her female colleagues onsite, including a bricklayer, dumper roller driver and highway engineer. Then children meet Jonathan, a celebrity floral designer who shows us how to create a simple arrangement as he tells us how his hobbies and love for nature led to his job. Accompanying optional learning resources include a brief teacher guide about challenging gender stereotypes in job aspirations, pupil activity worksheets to consolidate learning and display slides for classroom learning.

‘NHS Everyday Heroes’ pre-recorded resource – Did you know there are more than 350 types of jobs in the NHS?  It’s not all doctors and nurses. With the NHS at the forefront of our minds, this Classroom Chats session features 5 brilliant NHS workers in varied roles including pharmacy and mental health, with unique stories to inspire children.

Here’s what some children said after hearing from these volunteers:  

  • “[I felt] amazed because I didn’t know so many different types of nurses and how hard they work.” 
  • “That you have to know maths well to be a doctor.” 
  • “One new goal I have after meeting the adults is to rethink about what I want to do as a career”.  
  • “It surprised me that these jobs even existed because I thought its only doctor and nurse but theres more.” 
  • “It surprised me that you can change jobs in your life.” 
  • “You should never give up on yourself and believe that you can do what you put your mind to.” 
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Hear from schools about the benefits of running virtual activities with volunteers:  

“I think it’s so important that our children are prepared for the world of work – even if they’re only four or five, they need to know the attributes of getting into the world of work and working towards them… starting from the basics of very simple stuff and gradually building it up as you get older. . [Primary Futures] was an avenue of promoting what I already believed in… it almost took the pressure off – until I knew about Primary Futures, I was doing a lot myself.

“The advantage [to virtual] is that we’ve been able to continue as if nothing’s happened – our children haven’t lost out on their career education because we’ve had to go virtual… Often the person who’s come on screen will take us or show us things that is probably better than if they came in person.” 

Principal Carol May, Danesholme Infant Academy, Corby 

Learn more about how Carol’s schools uses Primary Futures for virtual interactive sessions that engage KS1 pupils.

  

We were very fortunate to be able to have Primary Futures lead a what’s my line assembly at our school. The careers featured were engaging and perfectly matched to our context. Despite children accessing this remotely, pupils were hooked and inspired. They were given firsthand insight into varied careers and industries and were given the time to explore this in a supportive, fun forum. The volunteers were knowledgeable and help to inspire pupils engagement. Feedback has been excellent and this has been from parents too who were also able to watch alongside their children at home. The assembly has inspired further learning and has energised the ambition of some of our hard-to reach pupils.” – Rebecca Austwick, Headteacher, Bentley High Street Primary, Doncaster 

Learn more about Rebecca’s school’s virtual activity reaching children at home and in school.

 

More exciting virtual opportunities: 

Sessions with employers  

This year we have a partnership with the NHS and Aviation industry, and we are running special virtual sessions with volunteers from the NHS and the aviation sector. Get in touch if you would like to book an activity with one of these employers. 

 

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