Portslade school harnesses old school tie

Posted On 02 Nov 2015 at 11:59 am

A Brighton state secondary school is to have an alumni officer based on site enabling staff to harness the talents of former students to inspire the current generation to career confidence and academic success.

Portslade Aldridge Community Academy sixth form alumni 1987

Portslade Aldridge Community Academy sixth form alumni 1987

Portslade Aldridge Community Academy has signed up to a scheme run by the national education charity Future First and funded by The Blagrave Trust allowing it to unlock the untapped potential of alumni and use it to develop more ambitious thinking about careers through state ‘old school tie’ networks.

The initiative demonstrates the growing importance schools place on preparing students for their working life and teaching the soft skills employers want.

Ellie Newbery, an alumni officer with Future First, has been based part-time in the school from this September. She will continue to develop their alumni network and work with teachers and careers staff to deliver a bespoke package of support to current students through assemblies and workshops, work experience placements and by providing real life examples of the working world in the curriculum.

Future First already works with more than 400 state schools and colleges across Britain helping them use the talents of former students as career role models, work experience providers, mentors, governors, donors and fundraisers. The Blagrave Trust funded ‘in house’ scheme extends that work by basing an alumni officer directly in the school, allowing them to work even more closely to meet the needs of the current students.

Alex Shapland-Howes, Managing Director of Future First, said, “Schools across Britain know that alumni are crucial in promoting student motivation because they provide relatable role models.

Having an alumni officer based in schools, working directly with school teachers and careers staff will enhance the opportunities alumni offer their old school.

Private schools have harnessed the talents of alumni for generations and now state schools students have that same valuable opportunity.”

Ellie Newbery said, “Nearly 70 per cent of 16 to 19-year-olds feel it will be hard to get a good job when they leave school and nearly 40 per cent don’t know anyone in a job they would like to do. I’m looking forward to working with PACA to show every student no job is out of their reach.”

Jo Wells, Director of The Blagrave Trust said, “We have already supported the Future First alumni model and were keen to see whether providing deeper support to schools and students via an on-site alumni officer was possible and if it would make a greater impact. Hence we are happy to be supporting this pilot.”

Itziar Leighton, Director of 16-19 Education at the Academy added, “At PACA, we are passionate about equipping our students with the skills to fulfil their potential in life whether that be further education, an apprenticeship or staring their own business. Through our alumni programme, students have the opportunity to mentor with a previous students to gain an invaluable insight into the world of work and many other activities such as workshops and work experience placements”
If you are a former student of Portslade Aldridge Community Academy, contact Ellie on ellie@futurefirst.org.uk.

For further details on Future First or to register a school or as an alumnus at another state school or college, visit www.futurefirst.org.uk.

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