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Bradford takes unique approach to raising aspirations and broadening horizons of young people

Dame Mary Archer, Chair of the Science Museum Group will be one of the high profile volunteers taking part in Inspiring Bradford

Bradford is pioneering a new approach to inspiring young people’s career choices with a week of inspirational events in both primary and secondary schools.

The exciting new initiative, Inspiring Bradford is designed to raise and broaden the aspirations of young people and provide them with a better understanding of the job opportunities and career routes that are open to them. The intention is that the initiative will form a blueprint for other parts of the country.

The week of high-profile events runs from the 13 to 19 October and each day has a different theme: business and economy, diversity, women in science, the arts and career routes such as apprenticeships and university. It launches on Friday 13 October with a Primary Futures event at Beckfoot Heaton Primary School and Nursery.

The launch involves five volunteers taking part in a ‘What’s my line’ where children try and work out their jobs, helping to challenge stereotypes young children often have based on gender and ethnicity. 40 people from business and the economy will then go into classrooms and chat in small groups to children.

Also being launched at the event is a three minute film about the importance of role models in primary schools featuring the OECD’s Director of Education, Andreas Schleicher.

The initiative has been developed by a range of partners working closely with both primary and secondary schools across the district. These include Bradford Council, University of Bradford, the National Science and Media Museum, the National Association of Head Teachers and the charity Education and Employers which runs Inspiring the Future and Primary Futures.

The week of inspirational events in schools also aims to lead to more people volunteering and more schools inviting volunteers via the free national Inspiring the Future service which connects schools and volunteers.

Some of the many high profile volunteers taking part in the event include:

Andy Mellor, Incoming President, National Association of Head Teachers

Ann Mroz, Editor and Times Educational Supplement

Beckie Hart, Regional Director for Yorkshire and Humber, CBI

Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General, CBI

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader, Bradford Council

Cllr Imran Khan, Deputy Leader, Bradford Council

Dame Mary Archer, Chair, Science Museum Group

Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE, Warwick University

Damon Boxer, Head of Delivery, Bradford Opportunity Area, Department for Education

Deborah Pocock LVO, Executive Director QEST, The Royal Warrant Holders Association

Jane Balderstone, Deputy Regional Schools Commissioner, Department for Education

Jo Quinton- Tulloch, Director, National Science and Media Museum

Kersten England, CEO, Bradford Council

Michael Jameson, Strategic Director, Department of Children’s Services, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council

Naz Shah, MP for Bradford West

Nicola Brentnall, Director, The Queen’s Trust

Professor Shirley Congdon, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Bradford

Sarah Lewis, Deputy Director, Opportunity Area, Department for Education

Zamia Bunglawala, Deputy Director, Race Audit, Cabinet Office

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said: “Bradford is leading the way in how we educate young people about the exciting world of work. Businesses and schools getting together is something we need to see all over the country, sharing the many opportunities that are available and challenging any misconceptions. Inspiring the Future is a fantastic way for every business to make a difference on social mobility and inspire future talent. Starting early matters and we know children are already making decisions about what they want to do at the age of eight.”

Coun Imran Khan, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for education, employment and skills, said: “Inspiring Bradford is a fantastic partnership initiative and a pioneering way of engaging employers and schools to work together to help young people. It shows the benefit of our Education Covenant and Bradford Pathways initiative in getting businesses and volunteers involved with schools to help our ambition to raise attainment. We’re very grateful to all the volunteers who have offered their time to help inspire our young people.”

Michael Jameson, Bradford Council’s strategic director of children’s services, said: “There are some fantastic things happening in our district to help our young people achieve their potential with numerous organisations all playing their part. Inspiring young people and giving them a vision of what their career might be is so important in helping them stay focused and achieving at school. Inspiring Bradford is a collaborative effort involving teachers, local organisations, community groups, volunteers and employers in the area.”


Schools have often found it difficult and time-consuming to find the volunteers they want to engage with children and young people. It is hoped that by the end the week that number of volunteers available to schools in Bradford will rise to over 500 – people who are willing to come into schools and perhaps take part in career speed networking, chat to students, provide feedback on a CV, give a mock interview, or consider becoming a governor.

Nick Chambers, Chief Executive of the charity Education and Employers, said: “If we’re serious about improving social mobility, the issue must be addressed at primary level. Inspiring Bradford is a national first – a truly collaborative effort to get volunteers into both primary and secondary schools and we hope that many other areas of the country will use this as a way of inspiring their young people.

“The intention is to create a real buzz across the district. This is a week of celebration involving volunteers from all levels – apprentices to CEOs, and from all sectors – archaeologists to zoologists. We hope it will provide real inspiration to young people in Bradford.”