Future Leaders - An evolution for Villiers Park
We are excited to announce the launch of our new Future Leaders programme in October 2020. It is the first programme of its kind, and has been designed using the latest academic research. It will replace the long-running Scholars and Inspiring Excellence programmes and builds on their success.
Despite increasing numbers of students from low-income families going to university, their life outcomes remain poorer than those of their peers. Future Leaders is rooted in the ‘possible selves’ psychological theory - the idea that young people can only aim for the ambitions that they are able to imagine. The more realistic that a future seems and the more a young person understands the different pathways to get there, the stronger its influence becomes on their motivation to achieve it. Future Leaders acknowledges that young people already have aspirations, and aims to support them in developing self-efficacy and agency in their own futures and equip them with the skills, experiences and motivation they need to become leaders in their chosen field.
The Future Leaders coaching model draws on the latest evidence-informed approaches to working with young people. Supported by trained and experienced coaches, Future Leaders will explore their values and purpose to understand what is most important to them and what they want to achieve. It will help them assume responsibility for their own outcomes and develop their own solutions to the challenges they face.
The programme consists of three core elements:
The programme is being delivered online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our online platform, Future Leaders Launchpad, has been developed with safeguarding, security and wellbeing of our young people in mind. We will reintroduce person-to-person activities, such as our long-established residential courses, workshops and in-person coaching, when it is safe to do so. Our blended model is modular and flexible, which means we can respond to the needs of individual young people, schools, colleges, higher education partners and programme sponsors, as well as the changing social distancing restrictions.
Why is Future Leaders important?
The work we do has never been more needed. Disadvantaged young people are among the most vulnerable to the long-term socio-economic impacts of Covid-19. Nationally, the Education Endowment Foundation has projected that all the progress made over the last decade in closing the attainment gap between less advantaged children and their peers was completely wiped out during lockdown.
Students from low-income households are spending 30% less time a week learning from home than their more privileged peers. Schools may now be reopening, but young people will live with the repercussions of this disruption to their education for decades to come. The uncertainty which students face will only increase the pressure and anxiety they experience. As well as being designed to increase young people’s agency over their futures, the Future Leaders programme also focuses on their wellbeing.
Social mobility is vital for a healthy society that meets the needs of all of its members. If we are to achieve this, the next generation of business and political leaders must be cultivated from diverse backgrounds. It is only by empowering young people from all parts of society to succeed through initiatives like Future Leaders that we can hope to achieve this.