Children as young as five are to get school visits from professionals such as businessmen, archaeologists and zoologists to help teach them about different types of jobs, it has been announced.
Under a new initiative, primary schools are to get free access to a network of volunteers willing to talk to youngsters about their careers.
The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) said the Primary Futures scheme is part of a bid to widen primary school children’s horizons and raise their aspirations.
NAHT general secretary Russell Hobby said: “For children of primary age, making a connection between what they learn in the classroom and how it relates to the world of work isn’t easy.
“Primary Futures is intended to change that.
“It is not about specific careers advice, or fixing on one path for the future at age 11. It is about widening horizons on what can be achieved.”
He added: “Children also benefit from understanding the practical requirements of the working world so they can be motivated to improve their literacy and numeracy.”
Primary schools that take part can view profiles of different volunteers and send them messages asking them to come in and talk to children.
The volunteers include young apprentices, graduates and experienced workers such as chief executives working in a range of professions.
They talk to children about their jobs and their backgrounds as well as taking part in activities such as reading and competitions.
The scheme is part of the Inspiring the Future programme already running for secondary schools, which has more than 13,500 volunteers, the NAHT said. Nick Chambers, director of the Education and Employers charity which has developed the new initiative with the NAHT, said: “Primary Futures grew out of discussions with NAHT about how best employers could support primary schools.
“Headteachers were keen to invite volunteers from outside their immediate communities to give children the chance to meet people from a range of professional backgrounds but found it difficult and time consuming.
“This scheme developed by the profession aims to make it very easy for schools to access volunteers – and for people to volunteer.”