As you gaze towards the long summer break you’ll soon realise that six weeks is a long time to be sat around getting bored. If you haven’t got tickets for this year’s hottest festivals, what are you going to do between now and getting your exam results?
You could join the thousands of young people across the country taking part in the National Citizen Service. You’ve probably heard about it at school. It probably sounds a lot like hard work, particularly when you had planned most of your days off around sleeping, but, it could be the perfect way to spend your time off.
The National Citizen Service was set up to give young people a not-to-be-missed experience. Over four weeks you will overcome physical challenges, learn new and valuable skills, undertake a social project to make where you live a better place to be and, most importantly, make new friends and have fun.
At Prospects we will be delivering the National Citizen Service in South Gloucestershire and Salisbury. Using the fantastic facilities at South Cerney Outdoor Centre the first week is a getting to know you, physical challenge week. Being away from home is always a bit strange to start with so the groups throw themselves into activities from paddle-boarding to archery. This first week is all about team work and finding out about each other’s strengths, and its not always the obvious sporting skills that are most important.
In week two the groups get to experience life as a student as they spend a week at the University of the West of England staying in student accommodation. During this week the teams learn life skills for the future, first aid training, managing a budget, time management, creating a CV, top tips for personal statements as well as consolidating how they work together as a group.
Weeks three and four are when the group decide which social project they want to support. Some groups choose a local charity, raise funds and provide their time and support while others opt to do something to make people happier like free children’s face painting. To make the projects happen the group have to work as a team, some use their marketing skills promoting their projects on radion programmes and in local papers, others their project management skills. One group recently held a fun run requiring council permission, normally a five-week process, they telephoned the council until they found the right person to speak to and got the required permits in 24 hours.
National Citizen Service graduates walk a little taller, they are able to take responsibility for a project and make it happen. They develop firm friendships and grow in confidence. Is it any wonder that employers, universities, colleges and recruiters recognise the value of a summer spent with the National Citizen Service.
The Prospects National Citizen Service runs throughout the summer. If you want to sign up you can visit http://ncswest.co.uk. If you claim free school meals there is no cost to attend the National Citizen Service, otherwise it is £50 to take part. All accommodation during the two residential weeks and all meals are provided, so this is one summer activity that won’t break the Bank of Mum & Dad.
The #summerfun campaign is run by Prospects, the education, employment and skills company, which gives young people awaiting their exam results advice on how to use their summer break to improve their employability and skills.