When I was in Year 11, a couple of National Citizen Service (NCS) staff members came into assembly and talked to us about this life-changing programme that was open to all 15-17 year olds during the summer holidays. It was a four-week programme where we could live away from home for short periods. We could make new friends and have a great time while building some new skills and experiences. And it only cost £50 max! I really liked the sound of it and my mum thought it would be a great way to spend part of my summer, so I signed up.
“The programme gave me so much confidence”
I wasn’t hoping for too much, if I’m honest. I didn’t know many people who’d done NCS so I didn’t really have any expectations. Which was good because it meant I was really impressed when I got so much out of it.
The programme gave me so much confidence. During the first week, we went away on a residential trip to an outbound activity centre. While we were there we did a load of fun activities. The second week, we went to live at the University of Kent, which gave us a taste of student life. We took part in loads of events and workshops that helped us build skills that school doesn’t really focus on that much – like leadership, budgeting, politics. We even did our own bake off and fashion show.
“I made so many new friends for life”
On NCS you’re put into a team of young people from your local area, and the chances are that you won’t know any of them. This sounds daunting, but I can honestly say it was the best experience. I made so many new friends for life.
During the last two weeks of the programme, my team and I went back to our local community. There, we designed and delivered our very own social action project. It was then that I realised NCS wasn’t just about meeting new people. It had helped me to see that I was confident and that I have skills that could be developed. NCS helped me to realise that I could do anything I put my mind to.
After NCS was when doors really started to open for me. I took part in a programme called NCS Leaders where I met hundreds of other like-minded young people. As an NCS Graduate I’ve also been given opportunities such as travelling to Belgium to represent the young people of Britain. I’ve written blog articles, interviewed NCS ambassadors, and been interviewed on TV and radio. I even took part in the Radio 1 ‘My Mind and Me’ campaign!
“NCS helped me get jobs”
To top it all off, I was offered an internship at the NCS Trust in London, where I helped organise the annual NCS conference.
NCS helped me write my personal statement, helped me get jobs, internships, and gave me an insight into what kind of career I’d like to pursue (probably in the charity/ third sector). I started the programme with no expectations, and there’s a phase I love which encapsulates my experience and that’s “you haven’t done NCS, you’re doing NCS” – which I think is entirely true because I doubt my NCS journey will ever be over.
At CXK we’re proud to provide training courses, development programmes and emotional support, advice and guidance which help young people to develop the skills and confidence to take their next steps in life.
Whether you’re looking for careers advice, want to develop your confidence, are looking to improve your Maths and English skills, or aren’t in education or employment and unsure what to do next; our services can provide you with the essential skills and confidence you need to ensure you’re in the best position to move forwards. For further details on the services we offer, visit our Services page.