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Inspiring the future

Find an inspirational STEM volunteer from the world of work for engaging virtual career talks, activities and Q&A sessions. 

Inspiring the future

Inspiring the future is an online volunteer matchmaking platform enabling teachers and careers leaders to connect with a diverse range of exciting and engaging volunteers from the world of work.

There are over 1000 virtual STEM volunteers on the platform available to join your activity, spanning a variety of job roles and levels. Virtual activities are teacher-led, so schools can search for volunteers they would like to attend their activities, and host sessions on a tech platform of their choice. Activities can be tailored to suit the needs of their students and meet several Gatsby Benchmarks. Virtual activities are available to all state schools including SEND schools, FE colleges and pupil referral units.

Schools can plan a wide range of exciting virtual activities including:

  • career talks
  • simple Q&As
  • subject themed activities
  • mock interviews
  • work experience

STEM volunteers talk to students about their career journeys, the range of pathways they took to get into STEM, and the challenges they faced along the way. Sessions link curriculum learning to careers and support students to broaden their horizons and raise their aspirations, alongside challenging stereotypes about the jobs people do based on their social background, gender and ethnicity. We have a range of guidance on our platform to support school staff to create these activities.


Inspiring the future is a permanent programme. Sessions are created by school staff and can vary in length, but typically last around 1 hour. Teachers can use Inspiring the future to create as many opportunities as they want.

Learning outcomes

  • Improve engagement, interest or enjoyment in STEM subjects

  • Improve attainment and progress in STEM subjects

  • Learning what the engineering workplace is like

  • Improve awareness and aspirations for STEM-related study and careers

  • Challenge stereotypes by showing the diversity of disciplines, people and skills involved in engineering

Subjects and topics

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing
    • Design and Technology
    • Engineering
    • Maths
    • Physics
    • Agriculture and food
    • Biotechnology
    • Chemical engineering
    • Design, art and fashion
    • Electronics, robotics and programming
    • Energy and environment
    • Entertainment, sound and lighting
    • General engineering
    • Humanitarian aid
    • Materials, products and manufacturing
    • Mechanical engineering, systems and processes
    • Medicine and healthcare
    • Space and aerospace engineering
    • Sport and fitness
    • Structures, construction and civil engineering
    • Transport

Gatsby benchmarks

The Gatsby benchmarks are a framework for good careers guidance for schools across all of England and in some areas across the rest of the UK. This experience helps your school to reach the following benchmarks:

  • Addressing the needs of each pupil
  • Linking curriculum learning to careers
  • Encounters with employers and employees
  • Experiences of workplaces
  • Encounters with further and higher education

Essential skills

The essential skills every young person needs to succeed in education and their future career. Find out more at the Skills Builder Partnership. This experience builds the following skills:

  • Aiming high - the ability to set clear, tangible goals and devise a robust route to achieving them.

  • Listening - the ability to listen and understand information.

  • Staying positive - the ability to use tactics to overcome setbacks and achieve goals.

What the teachers say

We would love to read all about your time with this experience!

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STEM Ambassadors

STEM Ambassadors from a wide range of STEM-related jobs to help bring subjects to life.

  • Ages 11 to 21
  • In-school
  • Full day
  • Free
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Network Rail STEM Lab

Interact with Network Rail employees and engage in a range of STEM-related activities linked to the rail industry.

  • Ages 11 to 16
  • Offsite - Milton Keynes
  • Full day
  • Free

Careers resources