05.03.2024 Educator Insights First Give News

National Careers Week

This week is National Careers Week. It’s a one-week celebration of careers guidance in education across the UK, and it’s got us thinking about how First Give supports students’ to develop skills for future employment as well as consider options for their own future careers. 

Skills for employment 

Our mission at First Give is to provide opportunities for young people to understand the impact and importance of giving. We’re focused on igniting that spark of social conscience and inspiring young people to take action to tackle the social issues affecting our communities. But we know that through completing the programme, they develop a range of skills and attributes which are essential in today’s workforce. In last year’s student surveys we learned that 87% of all students who took part in the programme say they improved in at least one of the key skill areas we have identified: 

  • Public Speaking 
  • Teamwork 
  • Planning a project 
  • Research 
  • Leadership 

Careers and work related experience in Wales 

With the introduction of the new Curriculum for Wales, CWRE (Careers and work related experience) is one of the cross-cutting themes for all learners aged 3 to 16. Schools should inspire learners to develop an understanding of the purpose of work in life; become more aware of the range of careers available and develop the attitudes and behaviours to support their future careers. Through the First Give programme, students are given the opportunity to better understand the career opportunities available to them in the third sector as well as having the opportunity to engage directly with employers and employees from local charities. 

But perhaps even more critically, the programme presents students with project based learning that will develop many of the integral skills identified in the Curriculum for Wales. Lloyd Rowe at Bryntirion Comprehensive School has been a First Give Lead Teacher for over 6 years now, and told us, 

“Through the First Give programme at Bryntirion, every pupil will connect with a local charity, they meet with the charities and plan and organise through the development of their integral skills a series of social action activities. Developing their creativity and innovation skills, their personal effectiveness skills. The First Give programme is a comprehensive project based scheme of work that really allows our students to develop integral skills across all four purposes of the Curriculum for Wales and contributes to our approach to CWRE.” 

Gatsby Benchmarks

Teachers in England will be more familiar with the Gatsby Benchmarks. One of the most inspiring parts of the First Give programme is the opportunity to meet with representatives from charities working in the local community. This moment provides a meaningful encounter with employers from the third sector, with an extended opportunity for students to ask questions about the experience of working for a charity. 76% of students told us they had this opportunity during last year’s programme, and this year we have implemented changes to the programme to improve the engagement of charities. 

Last year we spoke with one of these representatives from Starlight Children’s Foundation, Jess, who had visited students at Sacred Heart High School in Hammersmith. She spoke to us about her own career journey into the charity sector, and told us how inspiring the First Give experience was for her as well as the students. 

“I remember that one girl in particular said that she wanted to become a charity worker thanks to her experience on the programme. That was very special, being able to have a positive influence on a young person in that way.” 

We don’t anticipate this happening all the time, but giving students the widest possible understanding of the world of work is obviously key to providing a robust and full careers education. 

Skills, opportunities and encounters

Whilst our priority at First Give is on inspiring generosity and giving, we are delighted that the programme supports students in the critical element of their school experience that is careers education. The innovative and engaging project-based approach that the programme takes not only supports the development of skills for work, but also gives students a taste of a sector of the workforce that perhaps wouldn’t otherwise be obvious. Having the opportunity to make a real and tangible difference to your community through social action and potentially winning that £1,000 grant also connects students to the real world in a way that is compelling and builds their confidence. 

You can find more details of how the First Give programme could support your school in our comprehensive Curriculum Links document, which has just been updated to include more on statutory requirements and other careers guidance in both England and Wales. Get in touch if you’d like to hear more or get your school involved!