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Parents &
GuardiansHelp your teenager get ahead

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What isnational citizen service?

NCS is a once-in-a lifetime experience open to all 15 - 17 year olds across England and Northern Ireland that helps fast track your teen’s future.

It is a unique two or three week full-time programme focused around fun and discovery, plus 30 hours committed to a social action project that benefits both young people and society. On this programme, participants build skills for work and life, while taking on new challenges and adventures, making new friends, learning new skills and contributing to their community.

NCS takes place out of school time during the autumn, spring and summer terms and represents great value for money for parents as participants spend time away from home with all meals and activities covered. Government backing means the most you will ever pay for NCS is £50 for the whole experience, including food, activities… everything. Your teen will learn how to be self-sufficient, developing new life skills such as first aid, managing a budget and cooking for themselves and their new friends.

Launched in 2011, to date over 70,000 teenagers have taken part in NCS and 1.5 million hours have been dedicated by NCS graduates to social action projects designed to improve their local communities.

What are the benefits?

Sharon Lynch, 49, South London

“Teenagers need opportunities to shine, and that’s exactly what NCS gave my daughter Frieda in 2011. I was initially sceptical that anything so good could be available for £50, but once I found out more about NCS at a parents’ evening I was reassured. I realised she’d be learning loads of skills rather than being bored at home.

“Teenagers need opportunities to shine, and that’s exactly what NCS gave my daughter.”

Frieda had a fantastic time, mixing with young people from diverse backgrounds. She came back happy and walking tall. I’d tell all parents to get behind their kids and say yes to NCS – it’s great value for money.”

“IT’S A ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY, WHICH YOUR CHILD WILL ENJOY EVERY MOMENT OF.”

Farnoosh Shahrokhshani

whAT DOES NCS INVOLVE?

Working in teams of new friends, your teen will experience a wealth of exciting challenges and experiences designed to provide them with life skills that are invaluable to their future.

In the first stage of NCS, your teen will live away from home in an activity-centre with a team of 12-15 young people. They’ll experience a wide range of team-building outdoor activities, including camping, canoeing, kayaking, hiking or abseiling.

who will be responsible for my teen ‘on the ground’?

The safety and well being of participants is paramount.

NCS is delivered across England and Northern Ireland by a network of experienced youth and community organizations including charities, college consortia, and voluntary, community, social enterprise (VCSE) and private sector partnerships.

NCS staff are DBS checked (previously CRB) and have the appropriate training to work with young people. All activities are comprehensively risk-assessed and overseen by carefully selected and trained instructors and mentors and the programme is quality assured locally and nationally.

will taking part IN NCS INTERFERE WITH MY TEENS’ ACADEMIC STUDIES?

The NCS summer programme takes place in the summer holidays.

Our shorter autumn and spring programmes can take place at any point during the autumn or spring terms, including half-term. Please email us here with your area details and we’ll put you in touch with your local provider for more details.

In the second stage, they’ll be closer to home (usually at university halls of residence), where they’ll have the opportunity to work with local businesses and learn project planning, budgeting and other important skills, whilst also getting their hands dirty in the kitchen - cooking for themselves and their teams.

Finally, your teen returns home, but continues to work with their team to give something back to their community through the creation and execution of a project, centred around a social issue they’re passionate about.

HOW DO I GET MY TEEN INVOLVED?

2014 places are filling up fast, so signing up as early as possible is always advised, but as long as places still exist, you can sign up with as little as one week to spare.

Your teen can register their interest to participate either during a presentation on NCS by their local providers in a Year 11 or 12 school /college presentation or by entering their details here. Once registration is complete, they’ll be contacted by their local NCS provider.

Learn more fromparents of the ncs grads

FARNOOSH SHAHROKHSHAHI

Father of Aria Shahrokhshahi

I’ve always wanted my son to have interests and have experiences that take place outside of school and from a young age I took him to judo, karate, tennis, swimming, Scouts…. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge believer in education, I’m a physics teacher, but I also believe in the enormous value of extracurricular activities. Skills developed outside the classroom will help people sail through life, and I’ve always taken them seriously too.

I heard about NCS when the team came to give a presentation to the school I teach at. It sounded like an amazing opportunity so I encouraged as many students as I could to give it a go. I did exactly the same with Aria when he turned 16. Having seen a number of young people go through the programme I can honestly say, I can’t find a bad word to say about it. Nor am I ashamed to say that at one stage, Aria was asked to leave the programme. (He broke one of the ground rules.) Of course I was disappointed, but they were absolutely right to ask him to do so.

But he repeatedly asked to stay, apologised, and assured them it wouldn’t happen again. And so they agreed. And that’s when my belief in the programme soared. Why? Because that was the point at which I realised that heart and compassion characterise NCS. The team leaders treat young people as individuals, they show them understanding and respect, and I can honestly see the difference it made to Aria.

Watching his team come together to create and deliver a community project was a pure joy. They came alive with a sense of purpose, pride and responsibility. And the comradeship between them exists to this day.

Aria himself credits the experience with helping to mature his outlook on life, he’s since gone on to become an active member of Nottingham City Youth Cabinet (which he heard about whilst on the programme), and he also went on to exceed all of our expectations in his maths GCSE...

FARNOOSH SHAHROKHSHAHI, Father of Aria Shahrokhshahi

Dawn Austin

Mother of Robert Austin

I didn’t have much knowledge of NCS before my son asked if he could participate in the programme, but once he explained what NCS actually was and what he’d be doing on it I was more than happy to send him. Plus for £50 for the whole programme it was amazing value for money too.

Before going on NCS I felt that the biggest challenge that Robert would face was working in big groups due to his lack of confidence and shyness working outside his friendship group – plus he had to do all that without his phone for the residential week(s)! I was so glad to be proved wrong though. Since he came back from NCS Robert has changed in so many way - he went away a child and came back a man. His confidence grew over the first residential week, and after he finished the programme I was overwhelmed to hear that he was setting up his own social action project which has now grown into an amazing website called www.teenwise.org.uk which aims to help fight all of the negative stereotypes that teenagers like Robert face – I’m so proud of him. The change has been wonderful; it’s something that a parent only hopes to witness, their child growing into a better person.

His communication skills grew and grew, he’s now able to communicate with others in different environments and situations, where as he was unable to do so before – it’s a really positive change that will help him so much in whatever career he decides to pursue. He’s also now completely able to time manage effectively without relying on others too. In all honesty, Robert is a changed person for the better after NCS. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, which your child will enjoy every moment of – I couldn’t recommend it more.

Dawn Austin, Mother of Robert Austin

Kate Brunskill

Mother of Rebecca Brunskill

I hadn’t heard of NCS before Rebecca came home asking to take part. The fact they were offering to take my child away camping and on such adventures made me nervous to let her go, but I was soon reassured by colleagues at work whose children had been on NCS, and loved it.

Rebecca’s never had a problem mixing or making new friends – but I did worry her expectations of the programme would be too high and she might want to come home, but she proved me wrong. She soon met another young girl from another part of Liverpool and they’ve stayed friends ever since, doing things together outside of NCS.

Kate Brunskill, Mother of Rebecca Brunskill

The change to Rebecca’s maturity was noticeable as soon as she came home. She’s now capable of talking to people she’s never met in a grown up manner. She can listen to the views of others and hear criticism without being upset. In return, she can voice her own opinions and deliver them with eloquence and understanding, which is beautiful to see.

In fact, the skills she developed are so apparent and she was so empowered by the experience that she’s gone onto launch a nationwide campaign called ‘Step Up To Serve’ alongside HRH the Prince of Wales, the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition and become a member of Youth Parliament. More recently Rebecca was recognised by Liverpool John Moores University and honoured with a “Good Citizen” award. Her NCS experience gave Rebecca an understanding of the challenges and difficulties that people can face in life. What she realised is that she can make a difference - even if it’s as simple as bringing some joy to others - and by doing so, take enjoyment from that alone.

Rebecca’s transformation has been amazing. She’s learnt so many skills from being involved in NCS, there are almost too many to mention. She’s about to embark on her journey from school to university, where these skills will help her forge a path in life, and I can’t wait to watch.

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