NCS helps young people in North West to get ahead

August 1st, 2013


As National Citizen Service (NCS) kicks off its             2013programme, independent research confirms that it  is  giving young people the skills and confidence to get ahead

Nationally, nine out of 10 participants believe National Citizen Service has given them the chance to develop skills that will be useful in the future, while nearly three-quarters felt more self-assured about getting a job according to an independent report published today. Last year over 4,500 in the North West took part in NCS and contributed more than 80,000 hours to developing and delivering social action projects in the community.

One young person who took part was Rebecca Brunskill from Liverpool.

Rebecca, 17, credits the programme with increasing her self-confidence and ambition, giving her the courage to stand for the UK Youth Parliament, and providing her with the incentive to volunteer with a local charity.

She began the NCS course in July 2012, attending a residential activity course in Conway followed by a week at Edge Hill University and a week spent developing and delivering a social action in the community where she and her team put on a family fun day at a youth centre in Croxteth.

Rebecca says,

“NCS has given me so much confidence.  I was always the person who never spoke up in class, who was really quiet, but since doing this I have stood for the UK Youth Parliament and been elected as the representative for Liverpool, something I would never have dared to do before.

“I really enjoyed NCS.  On the first week I was with a lot of people I didn’t know and I had never done anything like rafting or kayaking in my life.  I didn’t even like being near water – but because we were together we all learned to get on with it and put our trust in our team members.  The community work was also brilliant, and since NCS I have been inspired to do more.

“Afterwards we were put in touch with charities looking for volunteers, and I started working with a community climbing club, On this Roc, helping organise climbing wall activities for visually impaired children and adults.  I undertook some training on how to use the ropes and harnesses and now work with them on a regular basis.

“I have just finished year 12 at school and, if I do well in my AS levels, I want to go on to University to study Business Management.  I would recommend NCS to anybody.

“NCS has given me so much confidence.  I like to compare it to a seed – you plant it, and it grows and everything comes together.”

The report by NatCen Social Research, a leading social research institute, has revealed significant impacts in the second year of NCS – the flagship government-backed programme – particularly around the skills that young people need to get ahead in work and life: teamwork, communication and leadership.

Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, commented:

“Two things really please us about this research. The first is that rapid NCS growth is not coming at the cost of quality. The second is that the very positive impacts on young people appear to stick over time. This gives us the confidence to press ahead with really ambitious expansion plans. Young people love NCS because of the chance to make new friends, learn valuable skills and do something very positive for their community. We want every 16-year-old to have this opportunity.”

The findings show that NCS is giving 16-and 17-year olds the chance to hone their entrepreneurial skills, with an 18% uplift in the number of young people who said that they felt confident about leading a team thanks to NCS.   This is compared with only a 1% increase in the group of young people questioned as part of the study who had not taken part in NCS.

86% stated that following the programme they felt comfortable with teamwork; and 79% that they were confident in meeting new people.   NCS participants also reported that they were more prepared for the increasingly diverse workplaces of the future.  95% believed that they had a chance to know people they wouldn’t mix with, and this was shown to be instrumental in increasing confidence in relation to teamwork and communication.

The programme is helping young people to express their ideas more clearly and put forward their creative suggestions, with over 7/10 stating they now felt better about doing this, compared with over 5/10 at the start of the programme.

The new research also includes longitudinal analysis of 2011 participants, which shows that participants’ perceptions of the impact of NCS one year after the start of the programme were very positive. 9/10 agreed that NCS had ‘given them a better understanding of what life is like for people who are different to me’, with a similar proportion agreeing they had developed skills that ‘have been useful for me in my study, work or training.’

An independent organisation, is being created to support the expansion of the Government programme.  Stephen Greene, Chair of the NCS Trust, commented:

“It’s great news to hear that NCS is receiving such a positive response from the very people this programme was created for. Building young people’s confidence, prospects and motivation for education and employment is what NCS delivers. For many 16-and 17-year-olds, NCS gives them the tools, skills and belief to unlock their potential while making a positive impact in their schools, colleges and communities.”

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