New report illuminates the difference made by career-related learning on children’s aspirations in Blackpool

An evaluation report of our Primary Futures Blackpool project was launched today and shows the impact of a committed and sustained approach to career-related learning on primary-aged children’s aspirations. 

Funded by the Blackpool Opportunity Area Board, the project launched in September 2021 and ran over the 2021-22 academic year. The project builds on the success of work previously carried out by Education and Employers’ Primary Futures programme in the Blackpool area since 2016. The intention is to make Blackpool a national example of excellence in career-related learning in primary schools, with children having an increased awareness of jobs and being more informed about how what they are learning in school relates to the wider world. 

Over the course of the project, 82 Primary Futures volunteers from the world of work connected with 20 schools and 5,375 children. The project involved providing schools with a package of support working towards the embedding of career-related learning activities, ensuring that teachers were able to continue using the Primary Futures platform independently once the project had finished.

New report illuminates the difference made by career-related learning on children’s aspirations in Blackpool New report illuminates the difference made by career-related learning on children’s aspirations in Blackpool

Key Findings

  • 100% of teachers said children’s aspirations were raised and their horizons were broadened by the project and that it allowed children to challenge their gendered stereotypes about jobs 
  • 73% of children learned about a new job they hadn’t heard about before the project 
  • 83% of children agreed with the statement ‘there are lots of different jobs for me in Blackpool when I grow up’ and also that ‘there are lots of jobs for me in other areas when I grow up’ 

Learning and feedback from children included: 

  • We have learned not to let our gender stop us doing anything 
  • Reading and writing are very important in all of the jobs 
  • The thing I liked best about the activity was the action and excitement of their jobs 
  • There are lots of little jobs in one big job 

New report illuminates the difference made by career-related learning on children’s aspirations in Blackpool New report illuminates the difference made by career-related learning on children’s aspirations in Blackpool

Teacher Feedback and Legacy

At the end of project celebration event, teachers expressed interest in maintaining a community of practice and learning from each other and sharing tips about career-related learning. 

Dr Elaine Allen, headteacher at St John Vianney Catholic Primary School, loves how volunteers can show pupils the value of different skills and subjects through their jobs: 

“The Primary Futures set up allows us to make contact with volunteers who work in a vast array of jobs, requiring many different skills. It enables the children to see the value in learning a wide range of curriculum subjects as each can open up doors to so many future vocations. Ultimately, we want to develop our children’s aspirations at the earliest opportunity.” 

Teacher Damian Horton from St John Vianney is keen to continue using the Primary Futures platform to engage his pupils with inspiring local volunteers: 

“Blackpool is one of the most disadvantaged areas in the UK and for the children at St John Vianney’s, seeing people from the town who have gone on to have brilliant jobs – people like Hannah and Stuart – who they can relate to, is inspiring.”  

A new pre-recorded video was also developed as part of the project, featuring three inspirational women in STEM jobs across healthcare, cosmetics and local government. This video helped meet project priorities to tackle gender stereotypes and highlight the importance of STEM subjects. It has also provided a legacy to the project, having been made publicly available via the Primary Futures platform and has since been accessed by over 120 primary schools and 12,000 children nationally. 

The evaluation report includes a number of recommendations to build on the momentum created by the project. 

Read full report