Funded project by Department for Education

Education and Employers are pleased to announce an exciting new project made possible with funding from the Department for Education Opportunity Area Programme.

Derby identified as an Opportunity Area

The aim is to inspire children and connect primary schools in Abbey, Arboretum, Boulton, Chaddesden, Derwent, Normanton, and Sinfin with the world of work. Research conducted by the charity Education and Employers last year, ‘Drawing the Future’, showed that children as young as six had already decided what careers they could or could not do in the future. This was influenced by who they know and what they see on TV, with only 1% having the chance to be inspired by someone visiting their school.

In addition, the project will spark conversations at a range of events across the city to help broaden horizons, raise aspirations, and open a world of greater possibilities to the children, their families, and their teachers.

Project delivery partners Learn by Design, East Midlands Chamber, Forum Talent Potential, and dmh associates will join forces with Education and Employers to ensure that children in primary schools receive an inspiring programme of activity until summer 2020.


In a first, the projects is being closely evaluated to measure impact. This is being led by Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE, Director of dmh associates, in conjunction with Dr Elnaz Kashefpakdel, Head of Research at Education and Employers.

The project aims to:

  • Open children’s eyes to their future possibilities

  • Enable teachers to link classroom learning for children with their future opportunities through bespoke CPD sessions

  • Engage local employers to widen children’s horizons

  • Work with parents to raise their children’s aspirations

  • Develop children’s employability skills

The launch of Our Future-Derby marks a significant milestone in inspiring children to see the relevance of schooling to the world of work from an early age.  What makes this initiative special is the planting of seeds of hope.  Children, parents, teachers, and employers working together in local communities to gain a better understanding of the changing world of work.


Research shows children’s aspirations are often shaped, moulded, and restricted by gender stereotyping, socio-economic background, and the people they meet in their local area.  We will be examining what works and what needs more to be done to improve children’s life chances for a successful future.

- Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE, Director of dmh associates and Dr Elnaz Kashefpakdel, Head of Research, Education and Employers Research.



Funding and Partners:

The Our Future Derby project is commissioned and funded by the Opportunity Area Board. The programme works in partnership with 32 primary schools and is led by Education and Employers within a unique consortium including Learn by Design, dmh associates, Forum Talent Potential and East Midlands Chamber:

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Want to share your career story?

We are looking for volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds in all forms of job roles. Your commitment can be as much, or as little, as you can offer; from giving up just one hour to share your career journey in an assembly, to supporting a day of inspiring activities at a local school. 

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Our Future Derby breaking down

stereotypes and opening children's eyes to their future possibilities.