Technology has revolutionised how we connect, how we buy and sell products, arrange our travel, share ideas, meet new people. So why not use it to revolutionise the how children get insights and inspiration about the world of work and their future lives?
Technology now gives us now, for the first time, the ability to give all children, wherever they live, whatever school they attend, whatever job their parents do (or don’t do). It gives you people the opportunity to meet people from different social and ethnic backgrounds doing a range of interesting jobs – from Apps designers to zoologists, from all levels – apprentices to CEO’s. It enables us to revolutionise the way young people interact with the world of work – meaning that it is no longer just about you know, who your parents know, the alumni that went to your school.
One of the challenges historically, was how do we match thousands of schools and colleges nationwide with tens of thousands of volunteers across the country? How do we make it easy and free for teachers to find and communicate with inspirational volunteers on a huge scale?
In 2013, the charity, Education and Employers launched Inspiring the Future with the aim of giving young people the inspiration, motivation, knowledge, skills and opportunities they need to help them achieve their potential, by ensuring that every school and college has an effective partnership with employers.
More background on why Inspiring the Future was set up can be read here.
Salesforce has played a crucial role in making this free national network a reality. It enabled a radical innovation in ways in which schools and colleges could connect with local employers. The goal was to find a way of harnessing technological innovation to identify huge numbers of prospective volunteers, nationally and make them available to schools effectively, efficiently and equitably.
In partnership with Deloitte, whose Salesforce expertise was generously offered pro bono, Education and Employers built a very bespoke database, which allows volunteers to register a career profile, choose their volunteering areas and enabled teachers to search for relevant volunteers in their school or college Local Authority and send them a message to begin a two-way dialogue. Ordnance Survey’s unique mapping technology is also an integral part of the platform. Carl Wilson, Head of the Consultancy and Technical Services Team at Ordnance Survey says:
“We are proud supporters of the Inspiring the Future initiative and have enjoyed seeing the network of volunteers grow. It is great to see Ordnance Survey mapping playing a key role in connecting businesses and professionals with schools. Today mapping data is supporting businesses and large technology projects across the country by underpinning decision making and enabling tomorrows products and services.”
More examples of OS data delivering value can be found here.
Using teacher and volunteer feedback to improve the user experience
This self-service ‘match-making’ site for teachers facilitated school-employer engagement. It was expanded and improved in line with usage, feedback, additional initiatives and internal review of users’ experiences. For example, teachers wanted to contact multiple volunteers in batches rather than individually, so that was introduced and traffic rocketed.
Read more about the technological development here.
In 2017 we undertook a major upgrade by moving to Salesforce Communities. This allowed us to give users a more visual, localised search with mapping powered by Ordnance Survey, gave volunteers the ability to approach schools about opportunities and better cater to our ever-growing group of recruiting governors.
By harnessing technology, we have made it make it easy and quick for schools to connect with local employers.
Today, over 40,000 volunteers have registered their interest to volunteer in schools and colleges – from Apps designers to zoologists, from all levels – apprentices to CEO’s. And over 80% of state secondary schools and 3, 500 primary schools are using the service. Over 1.5 million interactions have taken place between volunteers and young people to date.
All this activity is still co-ordinated by a small team based predominantly in London. Every member of the Education and Employers’ team uses the Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) every day to log queries from schools or new contacts, engage with employers, and generate reports.
“For me, it’s the backbone of how our organisation operates, and how we can reach as many young people as we do. Being able to build automated workflows to send relevant information to our users at the appropriate time, and raise cases and actions for different staff and track these is invaluable.”
– Katy Langham, Director of Operations at Education and Employers.
This text below is from a Salesforce article about the further development of the technology:
There are now three communities built on Community Cloud with support from developers at a Salesforce partner organisation. “We can support teachers, recruit new governors for schools and colleges, and connect with our volunteers more easily,” said Langham. “It’s a real game-changer.
More than 50,000 users are able to take advantage of the communities, which are integrated with Education and Employers’ website. The volunteer and teacher communities feature a unique mapping capability supported by Ordnance Survey that brings together the right people in the right location. “Each volunteer has a profile showing their credentials, and can be invited to do a classroom talk, or attend an event,” said Alasdair Smith, Salesforce CRM Manager at Education and Employers. “In the past, matching volunteers to opportunities was complex, but the Salesforce community looks great and is easy to use.
Growing the school governor community
Education and Employers is keen to encourage its volunteers to take the next step in supporting not only pupils but also schools more widely by becoming a governor which is a great way for volunteers to make a difference in their community and develop their professional skills. There are already more than 250,000 people serving as governors in the UK, but still thousands of vacancies and schools in need of support. The matchmaking community built on Community Cloud is called Inspiring Governance and is fully supported and funded by the Department of Education.
The ability to report on the communities’ success is hugely important to securing future funding from the government and private donors. It can also help to identify gaps that the organisation needs to address, such as when there are a significant number of governor vacancies to fill. With Salesforce, data can be cut in a variety of different ways and reports for stakeholders and fundraisers are much faster, accurate and secure.
Watch how a volunteer registers on the Inspiring the Future platform:
Inspiring young people is nothing new – below shows Erasmus inspiring a eight year old future King Henry VIII – but nowadays our technology means that young people don’t have to rely on who they know to aspire to great things.