The Mayor of London launches primary schools programme supported by Primary Futures

Today, the 18th May 2022 the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan launched a new primary school outreach programme that will showcase potential career paths in the infrastructure and construction sectors to primary-aged pupils across London.  

The programme will help pupils, teachers and parents to better understand the world of construction and infrastructure, the range of jobs available, and the link between learning and work. It will also challenge stereotypes and broaden horizons for pupils, showing that, whatever their background, they can access the amazing range of opportunities the sectors have to offer.  

Our charity’s research has shown the importance of starting in primary schools. In 2018 we asked 20,000 7-11 year-olds to draw a picture of what they wanted to be when they grew up.  The findings, which formed the basis of our landmark ‘Drawing the Future’ report, showed that the career aspirations of 7-year-olds were similar to 17-year-olds. The biggest influence on their choice was their parents, people in their immediate neighbourhood and TV /social media. Only 1% heard about it from someone coming into their school – as the saying goes ‘You can’t be what you can’t see’.  

Writing to us in 2018 the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said “As highlighted in ‘Drawing the Future’, we know that it is while they are at primary school that children start to define jobs by gender and rule out certain career routes. There is a real need to develop soft skills and raise awareness about jobs from a younger age. In doing so, we can broaden aspirations for young Londoners and ensure that options are not closed down too early, particularly for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.” 

We are delighted to now be taking this mission forward with The Mayor and the GLA, through the launch of the Building Future London project. Targeting 30 primary schools and 1,800 pupils across London, this programme will showcase potential career paths in the infrastructure and construction sectors. 

The launch of the project follows a Mayoral report into diversity and inclusion in the infrastructure sector, revealing many groups remain underrepresented and face barriers accessing and continuing education. In partnership with the London Infrastructure Group (LIG) and the Mayor’s Workforce Integration Network (WIN), the programme will see diverse role models, including those from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds, women, disabled and LGBTQ+ professionals visiting schools and inspiring young students to pursue careers in the infrastructure and construction sectors. 

The Mayor of London launches primary schools programme supported by Primary Futures

Sadiq Khan said: “It shouldn’t be the case that two of our largest sectors are failing to reflect the diversity of our city. The reality is that many young, talented and ambitious Londoners from a range of under-represented backgrounds are not aware of the opportunities in our thriving infrastructure and construction sectors. This programme aims to change that, with role models from underrepresented groups showcasing to primary-age Londoners the breadth and quality of career pathways open to them. 

“No Londoner should be left behind as we recover from the pandemic. A person’s life chances should never be limited by their family’s background or the colour of their skin. This new initiative will give infrastructure and construction employers better insight into the role they can play to address inequalities, improve diversity and create industry-wide change.” 

Katy Hampshire, Director of Operations and Programmes at Education and Employers said: “Our proven track-record of delivering activities in primary schools, supported by our recent research, shows starting early with career-related learning is key to social mobility and helps challenge stereotypes that form at an early age. We are delighted to be working with the GLA, London employers and primary schools to inspire children to consider a broader range of future jobs; see how core subjects link to the wider world; and to think about building a more sustainable, equitable and green London of the future.” 

The outreach work will also show employers how to better collaborate with primary schools, building ongoing relationships, which will help to develop a future talent pipeline for green jobs. 

To register your school or to volunteer on the Building Future London project, please sign up at https://www.inspiringthefuture.org/london/.

If you would like more details about how your school or employer can get involved with this project, please email enquiries@inspiringthefuture.org or call 020 7566 4880. 

To see Mayor of London’s press release please the click here.