Eight of our students have signed up for the National Citizen Service this summer which will see them take part in adventure activities, learn new skills and run their own community project. As well as a week’s residential they also stay in university-style accommodation and have the chance to find out more about courses and careers options.
The Government-backed scheme is open to students aged between 15 and 17 years old and in Years 11 - 13. The scheme is very heavily subsidised and all accommodation, food and equipment is provided and each participant pays a nominal fee of £50.
Anna Lee from Year 11 signed up. She said: ‘I want to learn new skills and try something out of my comfort zone. I haven’t done any community projects before so this will be something new.’
Local co-ordinator Niall Robinson said: ‘The scheme started in 2009 as a pilot project to give students activities alongside their GCSEs. Originally there were 200 participants and now over 200,000 have done it. This year alone in Northamptonshire we have nearly a thousand young people taking part.
‘The first week is an outdoor residential at one of three different camps with activities that promote teamwork and leadership. Then the participants spend a week at Northampton University and different businesses and organisations talk to them about employability skills and university life.
‘One of our key things is trying to get different people from different areas doing projects together. They have to plan and implement a community project that involves something they are passionate about. It could be anything from raising awareness about an issue, raising money for cancer or renovating an area, it is up to them. It is all about helping the community and learning a new set of skills.
‘The best thing about the NCS is the difference you see afterwards in the young people’s abilities, focus and confidence levels. It is amazing to see their personal development; they become so motivated, confident and willing to get involved in new activities. The scheme is also recognised by UCAS so it looks great on university applications. ’