Together with teachers and volunteers in spring 2020, we started pioneering virtual interactive sessions via our Inspiring the Future and Primary Futures programmes. The aim was to help young people maintain a connection with the world of work, and indeed with the wider world around them.
At a time when motivation and inspiration are needed most, teachers have told us these sessions are a brilliant way of supporting their children and young people.
Find out what a virtual session looks like:
From our recent research we know that virtual sessions can be just as impactful as face-to-face sessions. These activities can help bring learning to life and improve attainment, especially in literacy and numeracy. They help broaden horizons and raise children’s confidence and self-belief. We’ve conducted detailed evaluation of the impact of these sessions and have also received a range of comments from young people themselves, such as:
“I learnt how important school subjects such as Maths, English and Science are in order to follow your career choice”
“It showed me that girls and boys can have the same job”
“I’ve learnt about the different ways to be successful”
“I feel more confident in the choices I am making”
Thousands of our volunteers have said they are happy to volunteer virtually, and hundreds of activities have taken place so far with schools across the UK. These remote sessions enable pupils to connect with a diverse range of people from anywhere in the country, giving them the chance to interact with people they would never normally encounter through their family or local connections. It’s revolutionised the access young people have to role models, helping to challenge the ingrained stereotypical views young people often have about the jobs people do based on their gender, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. For example, a young person in Blackpool can meet and ask questions of a TV Producer working in visual effects based in London, children in Cornwall can hear from someone who arranges Antarctica tours based in Scotland as part of their polar regions school topic, and students at a rural school in Wiltshire can quiz an Experimental Archaeologist in York. Sessions have even taken place with pupils in Davos, Switzerland, in Tema, Ghana, and Kampala, Uganda.
The interactive sessions are teacher led, so schools and colleges can decide what kind of session would have most impact for their students and which volunteers to invite. Over the last 12 months working with hundreds of teachers and schools, we’ve developed and refined the virtual sessions using a variety of technology platforms and teaching formats, with robust safeguarding procedures. Teachers can now easily and quickly invite volunteers to take part in a range of different activities such as ‘What’s My Line’ events, assemblies, mentoring, workplace tours, work experience and career insight talks on specific subjects.
Hear from school staff about their virtual experiences:
Pre-recorded interactive resources
To complement the live interactive virtual activities we have developed a library of thematic pre-recorded resources which teachers can use at any time. They feature a range of fantastic volunteers doing different and interesting jobs from arborists to entrepreneurs. Designed with teachers, these videos are accompanied by discussion points and learning activities to keep the encounters interactive. The library will be expanded over the next few months.
What you can do now:
- If you’re not signed up, you can register as a school or a volunteer.
- Teachers can organise their own bespoke virtual activities for their students. Find out more for primary schools or secondary schools.
- Teachers can instantly access pre-recorded video resources once they sign up or log in.
- Volunteers can find out how to get involved virtually.
- Learn about the impact of career-related learning at primary and the benefits of volunteering in education in our new reports.
- Share this page with your networks to encourage more people to inspire the next generation virtually.
An overview of our virtual activities:
Watch our webinar for volunteers on virtual activities:
Watch our CPD on virtual activities for secondary staff:
Watch our CPD for primary teachers on running virtual activities:
If you have any questions about virtual activities, please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0207 566 4880.