April 24th, 2017

“95% of young people would like employers to be more involved in providing advice and guidance about careers and jobs.” Broaden the horizons of young people with Inspiring the Future.

Young people in Australia have a wealth of career options at their fingertips, but do they really know what’s out there? For the last 5 years, the youth unemployment rate in Australia has continued to rise, settling now on 13.3%. The need for a motivated and skilled workforce coming from our schools is becoming more urgent as our population is ageing. Inspiring the Future Australia (ITF) is a free nationwide campaign that aims to address this issue by connecting schools with volunteers from the world of work with the click of a button.

ITF is for volunteers from all industries and positions, from Archaeologists to Zoologists; CEO’s to Apprentices. Volunteers spare at least one hour a year to visit schools in their area and give a career talk, help with mock interviews, participate in a career fair or more! Volunteers and teachers connect through a safe, secure website, that uses a matching system to make inviting volunteers to events easy.

ITF recently launched nationally to a cohort of students, teachers and professionals, with the NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes and Minister for Western Sydney Stuart Ayres officially commencing the campaign. The Hon. Rob Stokes MP gave valuable advice to the young people present, encouraging them that “a career is not something in and of itself but a vehicle that takes you where you want to go, it’s something that gets you somewhere.”

The launch also involved the first ever ITF career speed networking activity.  In this activity, 8 volunteers rotated around the room in turn, talking to tables of 8-10 students. Students were encouraged to ask questions about the volunteer’s career and their journey to get there.

One of the student participants, Shania Kumarasamy said she found it “valuable to hear about how where you want to go now might not be where you end up” and that was helpful for thinking about their careers in the future and what could happen. “It might not take you where you want to go but it can take you to another opportunity” says Shania.

ITF originates from the UK and has been running for four years there, recently celebrating 1 million connections between students and industry volunteers.

In Australia, ITF is being run by Western Sydney based non-profit Schools Industry Partnership, who have been working for over 20 years with young people and employers to reduce youth unemployment and inspire sustainable futures for young people.

At the heart of ITF, are volunteers talking informally about their job, career and educational route, to broaden the horizons and raise the aspirations of young people.

Visit www.inspiringthefuture.org.au to find out more about Inspiring the Future Australia, or sign up as a teacher of volunteer today!

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