Local businesses and employees in Dorset are being asked to give an hour of their time next week as part of national charity Education and Employers’ Inspiring the Future campaign.

The aim is to connect more young people with the world of work by broadening their horizons, challenging stereotypes, and raising aspirations by helping them understand the link between learning and their futures.

Inspiring the Future, Southern Universities Network (SUN) and Dorset Council are running a programme of inspiring events for children in primary and secondary schools across Dorset on April 3 and 4.

The official launch of our local Inspiring Dorset campaign will be at Holy Trinity and All Saints Schools in Weymouth. The events will bring together a range of employers to speak to children and take part in activities.

Volunteers from a range of local organisations are still needed to get involved and help provide an insight into a diverse range of career opportunities. We are asking for people from all jobs, sectors and levels to help inspire our young people. We just need an hour of your time to talk about your job role and how you got there. You may have the opportunity to hold a mock interview or take part in activities with students.

Alongside the official launch, there are various opportunities for volunteers to take part in events across primary and secondary schools in Dorset. New events are being organised by schools every week but here are some examples of the upcoming events looking for volunteers:

• The Abbey Primary School, Shaftesbury is running a What’s My Line assembly followed by volunteers joining children in the classroom to chat about their jobs on 1 April. Children will be dressing up for the day as the job they want to be when they grow up

• Stalbridge Primary is hosting a jobs fair on the 3 April, with children speaking to local volunteers doing different jobs and representing different employers

• Milborne St Andrew First School: What’s My Line assembly on 22 April and Aspirations Day on 23 April

• Yewstock School: whole-school Careers Week for SEN students (ages 3-19) from 29 April - 3 May 2019)

Rosie Knapper, senior advisor for schools and learning at Dorset Council, said: "It’s really important for children to think about what they want to do when they grow up and talk to employers about jobs and the world of work to help them to make good choices about their futures. These conversations need to start in primary school to support their aspirations.

“Research tells us that regular interactions with employers in primary and secondary schools help young people to understand the importance of what they are learning, support their achievement and increase outcomes for living happy, healthy and prosperous lives.

“This is also a fantastic way of local employers finding their future talent."

Katy Hampshire, director of operations and programmes at Education and Employers, said: "We are delighted to be working with SUN and Dorset County Council to excite and motivate young people about the world of work and how what they are learning in school relates to the wider world. Through Inspiring the Future’s national online platform, volunteers who work or live in Dorset can easily be connected to primary and secondary schools and colleges to chat informally to young people about what inspired them to follow their chosen career and how the educational route they chose helped them to achieve it.”

The Dorset Young Researchers 2018 survey of nearly 3,000 Dorset teenagers reported that the biggest barrier for young people achieving their career goals was a lack of confidence – Inspiring Dorset wants to challenge that and motivate children to follow their dreams by showing them the range of what’s on offer for them once they leave education.

Schools who would like to be a part of Inspiring the Future Dorset, please contact charlotte.thurston@educationandemployers.org