Form The Future
Future Business Centre, King's Hedges Road, Cambridge, CB4 2HY
How many of us can say we do a job that truly makes a difference? Anne Bailey can wear that badge with pride as every day, she – and her dedicated team – help to empower young people to ‘dream big’. Anne founded Form the Future in 2015, with business partner Michaela Eschbach, to connect students to a world of career opportunities by linking schools and businesses. The benefits are two-fold; enthusiastic young minds gain inspiration and skills, whilst volunteers experience the feel-good factor of helping the next generation.
Anne had previously worked for corporates such as BT, which ran education programmes within schools – and when she moved to Cambridge (her children at secondary school), she became concerned at the system’s focus on exam results, and lack of practical career advice. So she began approaching schools about the possibility of engaging with local companies – and so the journey began.
Form the Future’s work sees staff from large firms including ARM, Marshall and Cambridge University Hospitals, alongside smaller indies, give their time to share their career stories, helping make students curious about their own potential.
Regular events include Enterprise Days, with scholars tasked to come up with imaginative product ideas. There’s the Cambridge LaunchPad Project, focusing on making science, technology, engineering and maths more inclusive (students recently visited Amazon’s Cambridge HQ to learn how to programme an Alexa App).
There’s also practical help on creating sparkling CVs, interview techniques, careers advice, work experience placements and apprenticeship opportunities.
Though Anne’s team is relatively modest in size – 25 – their impact is huge, helping around 20,000 students, aged eight upwards, each year. They’ve recently expanded into schools in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Suffolk and Norwich, and thanks to their Erasmus programme, Form the Future is now in demand in Norway, Finland and Denmark. This amazing Cambridge-based business looks set to go global!