Inspiring the Future

Inspiring the Future is a free and easy way for thousands of schools, colleges and volunteers from the world of work to connect. It has been developed following extensive consultation with range of stakeholders – employers, education, government, third sector and intermediaries.

Volunteers from Apprentices to CEOs, Archaeologists to Zoologists pledge just one hour a year to volunteer in a state school or college near where they live or work to talk to young people about their job and career route.

Teachers and volunteers are connected through a secure website. Teachers select an invite people who best meet the needs of their students from a range of sectors and professions. At the heart is volunteers talking informally about their job, career and their educational route.

In addition, volunteers can select a number of areas of expertise that might be of interest to students – e.g. apprenticeships, enterprise, maths, financial literacy, languages, engineering and technology etc. Using the concept of online match making, Inspiring the Future uses the latest software used by leading companies for online shopping to enable secure and easy to use online interactions.

Inspiring the Future explained in 6 seconds!


Volunteers, schools and colleges register here

How does the online matching work?

This short film clip shows how schools and volunteers are matched step by step.


Launched in July 2012, Inspiring the Future initially covered secondary schools and colleges in England, but is now available in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man. There has also been interest from a number of other countries wishing to use the system and discussions are currently underway. See our International section.

Watch a short video clip about the launch of Inspiring the Future.

Primary Futures

Following requests from primary schools, Inspiring the Future has now been extended to primary schools under the name – Primary Futures. 

It aims to raise aspirations by helping primary aged children understand the link between learning in school and the world of work, to motivate them to improve their academic performance. The ask of volunteers is the same, with a commitment of one hour a year to talk to young people, and we have added new activities of reading and number partners which are specifically aimed at the primary audience.

Watch a short video clip of Primary Futures in action at Priestmead Primary School, Harrow, where pupils and volunteers are taking part in ‘What’s my line?’


Inspiring the Future now enables us to run a number of campaigns and themed weeks encouraging employers and volunteers from specific sectors, professions and demographics to sign-up, working with schools and colleges to engage their young people. These include:

Apprenticeships – Running year round campaigns in schools and colleges, encouraging them to invite current and former apprentices to talk with young people about what an apprenticeship is and how you apply for one.

Inspiring Women – this national campaign launched in October 2013  and we now have 24,000 female volunteers and counting! Our campaign has women from a wide range of occupations going into state schools, who are speaking to over 500,000 young women. Volunteers break down job gender stereotypes and broaden horizons.

Inspiring Governance – Inspiring Governance is a major new campaign to celebrate and promote the importance of schools governors.  As a result, Inspiring the Future has been developed to allow volunteers to create profiles showing their skills and experience for school governorship, with recruiting teachers/governors now able to search and invite volunteers from the world of work with the relevant governors skills they are looking for.

Primary Futures ‘Who’s in Health?’ – was rolled out across the UK in 2015/16. It is a national campaign to get 1000s of people from the healthcare sector to volunteer to go into primary schools to talk about how they use science, maths and literacy in their jobs.

Inspiring Languages – to encourage language teachers to invite volunteers using languages in their job to talk with school and college pupils to bring classroom learning to life. See our practical guide to Inspiring Languages: Inspiring Languages pamphlet (PDF)

We are also currently planning with partners a number of other campaigns including one on diversity, special education needs and boys.

Volunteer Activities

In addition to the one hour career insight talks, in response to demand from schools, colleges and volunteers we have extended the system to include a number of additional activities that teachers can select volunteer from. These follow the same format of a one hour a year commitment and include:

Help with CVsgiving young people feedback and advice on their CVs.

Mock Interviewshelping young people practise their communication skills in realistic interview scenarios for jobs, Apprenticeships and Higher Education entry.

Numeracy – taking part in a numeracy related activity with a group of primary school children. This could be a one off activity which could evolve into more regular involvement if you and the school both wish.

Readingreading to children or listening to them read in a primary school, either individually or in groups. This could be a one off activity which could evolve into more regular involvement if you and the school both wish.

School Governorvolunteers interested in an informal discussion with schools about becoming a school governor, and schools looking for people to join their governing body can select this activity.

Find your old school – we have just completed a major upgrade to the matching making software following feedback from teachers and volunteers. You can now find your old state primary or secondary school/college through Inspiring the Future and indicate if you are willing to go back and talk to current students. Log in here:

International – the Inspiring the Future and the Inspiring Women campaigns have received considerable international interest from countries as diverse as; China, Zambia, Australia, Spain and Bangladesh. Our charity is currently considering how to respond to this interest, share our technology and practical experience of launching free programmes for schools in the UK. Go to our International page:

For further details about any of these activities go to or contact

Useful resources for teachers

Guide for Subject Teachers at Key Stage 3 & 4

This guide for subject teachers was written by Education and Employers, a national charity, in collaboration with TeachFirst and classroom teachers who have first-hand experience of using volunteers to bring learning to life. It is also supported by the Department for Education (DfE) and the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL). It has a Foreward by the Secretary of State for Education.

This guide is about bringing volunteers from the world of work into the classroom to enrich learning. It is designed to help busy subject teachers find volunteers easily and quickly via the free, national Inspiring the Future system.

Subject Teacher Guide (PDF)

Inspiring the Future Subject schemes of work (PDF) Key Stages 3 & 4.

How to sign up

Watch this quick practical guide for teachers about how to sign up.

How the technology works

To learn more about the technology powering our online matching of schools and volunteers read this Salesforce and ITF blog that explains how it works:

Salesforce Foundation Inspiring the Future blog: