The Global Search for Education: How Employers Help Children Design their Futures


Understanding the reality of the working world becomes clearer the more times a young person interacts with the world of work.” – Nick Chambers   

 The future will be about pairing the cognitive, social and emotional capabilities of human beings with machines. The ‘Drawing the Future’ report (a collaboration between the OECD and the UK based charity, Education and Employers) was published in Davos this year. It featured 20,000 children aged 7 – 11 from 20 countries sharing their opinions about what they want to be when they grow up. According to Nick Chambers, Chief Executive of Education and Employers, the kids’ perspectives were often based on gender stereotypes, socio-economic backgrounds, and TV and social media. He notes that “36% based their career aspirations on someone they knew, 45% because of TV, film or radio, with only 1% learning about a job from someone visiting their school.” Gender and socio-economic stereotyping had a lot of impact with 20 times as many boys planning “to have a role in the armed forces or fire fighting services” as compared with girls who “aspired to be involved in the fashion industry.” 

Primary Futures, developed by the National Association of Head Teachers and Education and Employers, get volunteers from the world of work to go into primary schools and answer questions from children about jobs and career paths. The Global Search for Education is pleased to welcome Nick Chambers to talk about his organisation that is inspiring children to look at their future without gender bias by introducing them to employee volunteers during their primary school years. 

“We have worked with schools, employers and the government to create the state-of-the-art matchmaking service.” – Nick Chambers 

Nick, in what ways have you revolutionised the way young people interact with the employment network? What are the strategies you are personally proud of? 

We have worked with schools, employers and the government to create the state-of-the-art matchmaking service. Inspiring the Future connects volunteers from the world of work with schools – it is used by Primary Futures. It makes it very easy for employers to connect with schools and vice versa – for free. The growth of this network, which now stands at more than 50,000 volunteers, 80% of all secondary schools and 4,000 primary schools, demonstrates just how much this service is valued and something of which I am proud. 

What can other organisations around the world learn from your work in nurturing social capital at an early age? 

At Education and Employers, our work in connecting young people with the world of work is underpinned by robust and renowned research. We have made a compelling case that the quality and quantity of employer engagement experienced by young people while in school and college make it easier for them to navigate the increasingly difficult move from school to sustained, successful employment. It helps them to compete more effectively, make more informed decisions and makes a significant difference in how well they do in the world of work in early adulthood. 

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