New College Swindon and Swindon College have been selected to run the Government’s flagship personal and social development programme for young people in Swindon this year.
National Citizen Service (NCS) offers 16 and 17 year olds from different backgrounds valuable life experiences, through team and individual challenges run by selected organisations across the country.
Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd, announced a major expansion to make even more places available this year, with up to 90,000 opportunities to participate in 2014.
NCS aims to promote a more cohesive, responsible and engaged society by bringing young people from different background together to make a difference in their communities. Participants make new friends and challenge themselves throughout the programme, taking on outward bound activities like gorge walking and white water rafting, plus developing and delivering social action projects on local issues that matter to them. NCS enables young people to develop important skills that they can take with them into the world of work.
An independent evaluation of the 2011 programme indicated that the most significant impact of the scheme was on essential employment skills, in particular teamwork, leadership and communication. The proportion of young people saying they were planning to continue in education after NCS increased from 27% to 34% and 95% of young people reported that NCS gave them the chance to develop useful skills for the future.
Leaun Bampton-Ford, NCS@Swindon 2012 participant, said: “I joined NCS to improve my self-confidence and self-esteem. The week in Weymouth that we spent for the outdoors residential was great although very hot! We worked with The Food Bank, running a charity event at Riff’s Bar and collecting food at Swindon Co-operative. I would definitely recommend this initiative to others”
Paula Kimmel from New College Swindon said: “Last year’s programme proved to be fun, challenging and worthwhile for our participants – and staff. We are delighted to once again be involved in this project and are looking forward to recruiting and welcoming this year’s group.”
Amanda Burnside, Executive Director of Enterprise and Learner Services from Swindon College said: “We were very pleased at the outcomes of this programme for the young people who participated. Many went on to join full-time programmes at the College and are now ambassadors for this year’s recruitment.”
Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd, said: “As NCS continues to grow, an increasing number of young people across the country are benefitting from the superb opportunities on offer.
“I am delighted that in 2013 New College and Swindon College will be providing young people in Swindon with the chance of a lifetime to develop their skills, take on new challenges and adventures, meet new people from a range of backgrounds and have a lot of fun along the way.
“NCS is going from strength to strength, as our independent evaluation reflects, and there is no question that the scheme is having a hugely positive impact on participants who complete the programme.”
NCS ambassador, Bear Grylls, said: “This is one of the most exciting projects in the UK at the moment: empowering our youth with much needed life skills through adventure. It is how we heal this country from inside out and with the youth leading the way. I am so proud to represent this vision."