Future Frontiers was born from the belief that all young people have high aspirations. But too many miss out on the guidance, networks and opportunities they need to turn these aspirations into a reality.
For Dominic Baker, Future Frontiers, founder at CEO, the mismatch between aspiration and achievement amongst young people from disadvantaged backgrounds was all too clear.
Here is his story.
‘On a personal level, I had mixed experiences growing up. Until the age of nine, I lived in Surrey with four brothers and sisters - my dad was a parish priest. But just after my ninth birthday, my parents split up and my mum took us all off to live near my grandmother in Bedfordshire without my dad knowing. I didn’t really understand what was going on. We’d visited there a lot, but suddenly we were living there, and it was very different to the suburban, gentle place I’d grown up in.’
‘My mum was a single mum with five kids, we were all on free school meals, there obviously wasn’t much money, and the secondary school we went to was pretty rough.’
“I remember at about 13, asking one of my teachers how to become a doctor, and he replied, “you can only be a doctor if your parents are rich and you’re really smart, and you have neither of those.”
‘I felt pretty isolated, my dad wasn’t there and dealing with my parents’ break-up was pretty brutal. But the one thing that kept me going was this idea that I was going to become a doctor. It was a bit of a fantasy - I loved biology, and thought I was going to be a heart surgeon. And I remember at about 13, asking one of my teachers how to become a doctor, and he replied, “you can only be a doctor if your parents are rich and you’re really smart, and you have neither of those.”’
‘By the age of 15, I’d had enough. My dad had become chaplain of a private school in Wales and I left my mum and family and went to his school for three years. It was a big thing to move away. My family were very surprised. But I knew what I was doing was going to get me to where I wanted to be, which, in the end, turned out not to be medicine, but education.