Jodie and Craig aim to inspire Blackpool youngsters

Jodie Prenger, seen here as Shirley Valentine, is taking part in a scheme to inspire Blackpool youngsters
Jodie Prenger, seen here as Shirley Valentine, is taking part in a scheme to inspire Blackpool youngsters

Two Blackpool-educated actors are backing a scheme to transform current students’ opportunities and give them a better start in life.

I’d Do Anything winner Jodie Prenger and Craig Parkinson, who was in Line of Duty, Whitechapel and Misfits, are lending their support to run by the education charity Future First.

It aims to get past pupils of state schools to sign up to an alumni network where they can support current pupils and broaden their jobs horizons and prepare them to move from school to work.

Jodie and Craig both grew up and studied in Blackpool and are alumni of Blackpool and the Fylde College.

Besides the college, schools taking part are Blackpool Aspire Academy, Highfield Leadership Academy, Montgomery High School, St George’s School and Unity Academy.

Jodie said: “I was incredibly lucky and managed to achieve my dream job, but not everyone has that opportunity.

“Future First can help give young people in Blackpool that same chance, whatever their background.

“The charity is doing really important work bringing opportunities to young people in Blackpool and across the country.”

Craig said, “It’s so important to broaden young people’s jobs horizons and by taking former students back to their old schools.

“Future First is helping to do just that.

“Talking to someone who had a similar school experience and has gone on to achieve in their job makes students feel they can succeed too.

“I’d urge everyone to sign up through Future First to support their former state school.”

Blackpool Aspire Academy has already held a successful World at Work Day when students talked to and alumnus about their career path and life after school.

The returning former student was Jordan Robbins, who is doing an apprenticeship at Blackpool Sixth Form College.

Teacher Laura Hanson said, “It was a great day! Year 7 got so much from it and were really engaged with all the activities. They came away full of ideas and feeling very inspired!”

Christine Gilbert, chairman of Future First, which has worked with more than 1,000 schools nationwide, said, “Every state student should have the opportunity to succeed in life after school, regardless of their background.

“Alumni help give them a better start in life. If students see ‘people like me’ have succeeded, they are more likely to believe they can too.”

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