Nick Clegg launches 'army of aspiration'

 

Nick Clegg today hailed an initiative to send employees into state schools to talk about their careers as the launch of an "army for aspiration".

The Deputy Prime Minister said he hoped the Inspiring the Future scheme would allow schoolchildren to "open their minds" about the types of jobs they could pursue.

More than 100,000 voluntary speakers who can inspire youngsters are set to be signed up by the Education and Employers Taskforce.

The scheme is meant to give state school pupils access to the kind of careers advice and first-hand accounts that many private schools offer.

Research by the taskforce suggests 80% of independent schools regularly have external speakers to talk to pupils about career options.

Mr Clegg, who attended the prestigious Westminster School, said: "A lot of this is taken for granted for people, like myself, who were lucky enough to go to fee paying schools. What we are saying is that should be available to all schoolchildren whatever school they go to across the country."

Addressing pupils at the Bishop Challoner School in east London, Mr Clegg said had been inspired to take an interest in current affairs because his history teacher had "terrified" him into believing World War Three would "happen in weeks".

Actress Joanna Lumley, who appeared on stage with Mr Clegg, joked that she had wanted to be Prime Minister, but insisted the Lib Dem leader did "not need to worry".

Giving the children advice on achieving their dreams, she added: "Say yes, be on time, be gorgeous - as you all are - show willing, be savagely polite and go for it."

The scheme is strongly supported by the Deputy Prime Minister, who is driving efforts within the coalition Government to improve social mobility and ensure poorer youngsters are not hindered in life because of their background.

Other figures supporting the scheme include Apprentice star and entrepreneur Karren Brady, actress Joanna Lumley and the head chef of The Ivy restaurant, Gary Lee.

Mr Clegg added: "Too many young people get the message that the best jobs are not for them.

"Inspiring the Future will give state school students the chance to see, hear and make a connection with someone in a career or job they might not have thought about.

"Today we're calling on doctors, nurses, lawyers, builders, business people, civil servants, farmers, mechanics, engineers and other working people to give up just an hour of their time to talk to students in their local state school about how they got where they are today.

"The power of making connections that inspire young people is immeasurable and can be life-changing.

"Many successful people can point to a moment in their lives when they were inspired to become the people they are today. Now, it's their turn to help young people fulfil their potential."

Sir Roger Carr, president of employers' organisation the CBI, said: "There is nothing more compelling for young people thinking about their future careers than meeting and speaking to inspirational people who do the jobs they are considering. That is why the CBI is pleased to support Inspiring the Future.

"We desperately need to tackle the corrosive effects of high youth unemployment in the UK, so I would urge employers to sign up to this initiative and encourage their staff to get involved and provide valuable insights into their careers."

Brian Lightman, president of the Association of School and College Leaders which represents 17,000 school leaders, said: "The world of work offers a bewildering range of opportunities for young people.

"It is immensely important that they have the chance to gain insights early on about different jobs and careers, especially when they cover areas outside their immediate experience."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Support Engineer

£20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Support Engi...

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Advisor - Opportunities Available Nationwide

£15000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to ...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence