Our Future Derby – Making an impact


“We didn’t understand the impact of career learning at all until it happened. We realised from doing the questionnaires that the children had very narrow views when it came to the future… So for us it was about ‘how can we change that?’ and the project gave us that chance. We saw it straight away – the children were really engaged and they loved finding out about new jobs… seeing their eyes light up was just brilliant.” – Hannah Evans, Year 6 Teacher at Village Primary Academy in Derby 

The Our Future Derby project began in summer 2019 to set about linking children and schools in seven of the most deprived wards of Derby, to the world of work. Commissioned and funded by the Opportunity Area Board, the programme works in partnership with 32 primary schools and is led by Education and Employers within a unique consortium including Learn by Design, dmh associates, Forum Talent Potential and East Midlands Chamber. 

So far, the project has engaged more than 12,500 children and teachers through a range of dynamic and inspirational career-related learning activities involving exciting volunteers from a wide variety of sectors and backgrounds. Activities are interactive and engaging helping children to broaden their horizons of future possibilities, tackle potential stereotypes about the jobs people can do based on their backgrounds, and see the relevance of their learning. 

Our Future Derby – Making an impact

The Our Future Derby team recently hosted a webinar to celebrate the first year of the project and explore research findings. Teachers, schools, stakeholders, employers and volunteers came together to share and explore the success of career-related activities.  Teachers demonstrated a firm belief that the project is supporting them to embed career-related learning for their schools on a sustainable basis.  

The newly published evaluation by Deirdre Hughes of dmh associates followed the impact of the project on children taking part. The research demonstrates clear evidence that these activities do help children to broaden their horizons and increase their confidence and belief that they can do a range of jobs.  

Findings show that children initially had a narrow view of the world of work, with 68% indicating the main influencers of their job ideas were from parents or other close family members. After taking part in Our Future Derby activities, 81% reported they had learned about 5 or more jobs and 93% of children agreed that “People like me can do any job they want when they grow up”. You can read the full report here. 

This year the project is rolling out ‘My career learning log’, which helps children record and reflect on what they have learnt and their future aspirations, and can support the transition from primary to secondary education. Career related learning activities are running alongside an ongoing programme of webinars, training and a Resources Hub to ensure teachers have the tools, knowledge and resources to sustain this important work long after the project has ended. Schools also have access to the Primary Futures portal, which enables teachers to directly connect to a diverse pool of engaged volunteers. 

The Our Future Derby project is continuing until July 2021. If you would like to get involved as a volunteer to inspire children in your local community, you can sign up here. To get involved as a school, get in touch at enquiries@inspiringthefuture.org.