Earlier this week, I returned to the school where I spent seven years studying for SATs, GCSEs and A-Levels. Norbury Manor Business and Enterprise College for Girls (NMBEC) holds a special place in my heart, because of the amazing teachers I was inspired by, the many lessons I learned and the great friends I made there.
However, on this occasion, I was not there for a social visit. Instead, I came to speak to the girls in Year 9, who are beginning to consider their GCSE options. Myself and two other NMBEC alumni sat on a panel to speak about our GCSE options and how they may have (or may not have) contributed to what we are doing now.
This particular event was put on by the school in partnership with the charitable organisation, Future First. According to the Future First website: “Future First’s vision is that every school should be supported by a thriving, engaged alumni community. Our programme provides the infrastructure and expertise that make establishing these communities easy and inexpensive.”
Future First allows state schools to engage and keep in closer contact with their alumni, resulting in greater opportunities for current students. Alumni can offer support or work experience, provide students with advice on their career aspirations, and most of all, inspire young people in a time when there is so much working against them.
When I was contacted by Future First and informed about what they do, I immediately wanted to get involved. I not only wanted to give back to the school that gave me so much, but I also wanted to offer advice and support to students that I did not necessarily have at their age.
Speaking to the girls in Year 9 was a great experience and I loved seeing their enthusiasm, as they threw up their hands to shower us with questions. I could also see that they had gained something from the session, which made me feel happy, because that is what you really want to see.
Future First is a special organisation that is inspiring, and is going to inspire, countless young people. Alumni are really important to any educational organisation, because they exemplify what current students can aspire to and they could provide them with the inspiration that many young people may be missing.
I encourage you to head to the Future First website and look at how you may be able to get involved. You never know, they might be connected to your old school and I can tell you, it feels great when you are able to give back.