The new year has started here at Inspiring Governance by reaching the summit of one of our own mountains. We have now placed over 8,000 skilled, professional volunteers as school governors since we began delivering our DfE-funded recruitment service back in 2016.
We are also making appointments that we hope will bring a lifetime’s commitment to schools. Almost 50% of our 1,250 appointments last year were young people aged 18-35, many of whom are apprentices.
To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week and shine a light on the positive impact that apprentices continue to bring to the world of governance, we spoke to James Pearce, PMO at Haleon, who began his career as an apprentice at Rolls-Royce. James says:
“Having been accepted onto the Rolls-Royce apprenticeship programme, I decided that I wanted to share my experiences to help other young people with their career choices and gave talks at schools and careers fairs around the UK. I found I was asked the same questions again and again; what was it like to be an apprentice? how did I get onto the programme? how did I win my awards? what were the benefits? It made me realise that I wanted to do more to help, so I did a Google search – and governance came up. I read more about the role and felt I could bring something to the table and help make an impact on students in my community. I also felt that having recently experienced school life myself, I could bring a different perspective. One of my key motivations is careers support – our students are eventually going into the workforce and this role meant I could help support that on a deeper level.
People asked me why I was doing this now as I am young, but I thought, why wait? I don’t need to wait for 10 years to ‘gain experience’ – I have a lot of relevant experience, but I’m also bringing a different perspective as a young professional.”
With over 750,000 people currently participating in an apprenticeship in England, there remains a huge untapped resource of younger people who could bring their skills, experiences and energy to the governing table. We’re excited to host a volunteer information session during Apprenticeship Week especially for young professionals at Virgin 02 to talk about how volunteering as a school governor can help with career progression and develop new skills.
Thank you to everyone that has helped us to reach this 8,000 milestone and supported the career and personal development journeys of young people – to the DfE for their funding, to the National Governance Association for their new governor support, to employers and professional organisations that partner with us as School Governor Champions and last but by no means least, to all volunteers who are committed to helping children and young people get the best start in life through good governance – this is in celebration of you all.
Interested in finding out more about the role? Click here to read stories from some of our brilliant young governors.