Less than half of the pupils Future Frontiers believed they could reach an inspiring career before our programme.
Our Head of Data and Impact, Rob Grylls, explains why this is such a big problem, and how building self-belief is essential at school.
"Future Frontiers helped me confirm what I wanted to do and it gave me more of an idea of the path I needed to take. I loved that this programme helped me see that I can achieve what I want to, and there's nothing that can stop me from doing that."
Sara, future social worker
How confident are young people about their future?
Before starting the programme, less than half of the pupils we work with believe they can reach an inspiring career. Young people tell us that they are uncertain of their future plans and that even if they do have a career goal in mind, they are unsure how to realise it. This uncertainty can often manifest as low motivation and engagement at school.
Does this matter? Surely pupils can build confidence over time?
Building self-belief and motivation at school is essential for pupils before high-stakes exams like GCSEs. Underperformance in GCSE exams has a significant impact on pupils’ access to post-16 pathways, which are the stepping stones to fulfilling employment and higher education in the future. Recent research has shown that the motivation pupils gain by attending just 3 extra career talks actually increases GCSE attainment.
Even with some signs of an economic recovery on the horizon, we know young adults are particularly vulnerable to unemployment and will be for the immediate future. Ensuring all pupils can fulfil their potential at school is essential in the current climate.
How does the Future Frontiers coaching programme develop pupils’ self-belief?
Our programme takes a pupil-led approach to career guidance. Pupils are matched with a volunteer coach from one of our many business partners and take part in 6 hours of 1-1 coaching to discover their aspirations, the pathways available after GCSEs, and the steps they will take to achieve their goals in the future.
"The programme has changed how I think of school. It’s helped me think, “what am I really doing here? What am I here to do?”
Amir, future CEO
We equip volunteer coaches with all the tools they need to deliver impactful and structured sessions, and support from a Future Frontiers programme manager is always on hand. Our programme does not only benefit young people. Volunteers take their new coaching skills back to work with them, and our business partners report increased staff satisfaction and engagement.
How do we measure self-belief?
We use a range of methods to measure self-belief, including self-report surveys, focus groups and qualitative research. A new approach for us this year has been using questions from the Social Emotional Health Survey. This measures school-anchored positive-psychological traits such as self-awareness and self-efficacy that are linked with youth well-being and school engagement. We evaluate pupils’ development in self-belief by comparing their responses to the survey before and after the programme.
This year, 76% of pupils taking part in the Future Frontiers programme increased their self-belief.
This life-changing programme would not be possible without the businesses which partner with us.