Founders4Schools’ mission is simple: we want to eradicate the skills gap by helping students make informed choices about their future. We remove generational blinkers, raise aspirations and open young eyes to the attainable careers of the future.
The F4S story begins in 2011 when, following a series of successful inspirational talks to university students, we realised that in order to prepare the new generation for the future, we needed to inspire students at a younger age. We organised our first events with a group of high-profile CEOs and business leaders who volunteered to visit a number of schools in Cambridge and talk about their careers and life journeys. What they were thinking when they were younger, how their education helped build their careers, the successes failures and hurdles, the ups and downs and the rewards of leading the life of an entrepreneur. Almost 2,500 students joined those events and the feedback was outstanding: 96% said they felt inspired and 54% decided to change their GCSE subject choices. This success meant we needed to scale our project to inspire and help prepare the 8 million UK students and then the world.
Founders4Schools is part of a growing ecosystem and movement to help today’s youth be more forward-thinking in a broader societal context. We know that our children’s future is not a place where they can be magically catapulted to. We need to help them build it, inspire them to realize their motivations and passions, and give them the tools to achieve these aspirations. In this spirit, we’ve spent the last 3 years building a platform that enables teachers to invite, in approximately 4 minutes, local inspirational speakers that spearhead some of the most successful companies in the country.
Over 300 educational partners, including organisations like Teach First, Young Enterprise, HRH the Duke of York’s iDEA programme, the BBC, KANO and Edmodo, to name just a few, have joined us and spread the word every day across the UK. LinkedIn, Duedil, Postcode Anywhere and Edubase help us improve our platform to make teachers’ lives easier.
To date, 100% of teachers who’ve used our platform recommend us and we strive to maintain this level of satisfaction. Oliver Beach, Economics and Business teacher at Central Foundation Boys’ School, who has been holding one event per term for his students, said after the second event: “Setting up the event was a piece of cake and the calibre of speakers was outstanding! It’s all about raising aspirations and telling the children ‘they can’ if they put their mind to it. It is a great programme that has a big impact on students and lightens the teacher workload a little”, and Harriet Carter from Rhyl Primary school commented: “Founders4Schools run such an inspiring project. Children of all ages can relate to the message that the speakers bring and it provided a real life example of why school is important and the reasons for learning. Excellent!”
Feedback like this, and the words of students immediately after events, keep us going. A Year 9 student from UCL Academy said, following a Women in STEM role model talk at her school: “It made me think about what you can do if you really want to and I didn’t know what STEM was before so it really opened my eyes”). You can see more about the event and hear from the students here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD0LKI8fMUw
Following the success of these first events, the UCL Academy, is not only repeating the Women in STEM series of inspirational talks, but is also building role model events into the school’s curriculum by creating a programme whereby mentors join tutoring sessions for 10 weeks to guide Year 11 students in the creation of a marketable product. This impact on students encourages teachers to repeat events, create programmes of inspirational talks, embed role model events in the curriculum and look for ways to complement traditional teaching methods to unlock their pupils’ potential. And our goal is to help them in their efforts by removing barriers and making inviting speakers as quick and easy as buying something on Amazon or booking a delivery from Tesco in approximately 4 minutes following only 5 easy steps. We do all the rest and speakers turn up at the school’s office at the time of the event!
Why not book your first event now to motivate your students today?