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A major new tie-up between employers and schools that seeks to boost young people’s career prospects has been launched today.‘Inspiring the Future’ will see employees from all sectors and professions volunteer to go into state secondary schools and colleges to talk about their jobs, career histories and educational pathways.Developed by the Education and Employers Taskforce, the scheme aims to give pupils at state schools the same opportunities to meet employers as those at independent schools – who are currently 30 per cent more likely to have received such a careers talk.The programme hopes to recruit 100,000 volunteers, who will commit to visiting a school close to where they live or work once a year to spend an hour talking with young people about their job. Volunteers will be matched with schools via an online platform, in a free service that has been endorsed by the government, teaching bodies and employer organisations including the CIPD.“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,” said deputy prime minister Nick Clegg. “Today we're calling on doctors, nurses, lawyers, builders, civil servants, farmers, mechanics, engineers and other working people to give up just an hour of their time to talk to students in their local state school about how they got where they are today. The power of making connections that inspire young people is immeasurable and can be life-changing.”Nearly a third of all state secondary schools have already registered for the initiative, and almost 100 organisations – such as PwC and NHS Employers – are also taking part.Staff from the tax and consulting practices at PwC will be among the first volunteers to visit classrooms to talk to pupils about their career experiences.
“This is a simple idea, with far-reaching consequences,” said Gaenor Bagley, head of people at PwC. “We have to demystify the world of work, business and what young people's options are for study, if we are to realistically attract a wider range of people to the professions. “The routes into work and training are changing,” she continued. “By expanding young people's knowledge of those routes into work, we can help them to consider alternatives to university, such as apprenticeships, and offer access to our profession to a broader range of people.”Dean Royles, director of NHS Employers, delivered a workshop at the scheme’s launch this morning.“Inspiring the Future will highlight some of the fantastic opportunities for young people – and employers will benefit too,” he said. “The NHS is Europe's largest employer but its lifeblood is the personal, individual and collective commitment its staff have for great patient care. Many people on joining the NHS fall in love with it and the career they choose, so we know how important it is to give young people this good start in life.”