5 Things to Do This Summer - NCS Grad, Benjamin

ncs 28/06/2017

We all know what a quintessentially British summer looks like – we all get out the sun cream, ice-creams and fish’n’chips (when it’s not raining that is!). It’s a time to be active, especially with the 6 weeks holidays approaching; we all want something to do to pass the time. Although the summer break is a time to relax with friends and family, it’s also a fantastic opportunity to get motivated and do something amazing! So here are 5 things you can do over your summer break:

1. Work Experience

Employers are always looking for more and more from candidates who apply for their jobs. The best way to catch an employer’s eye is to have a section of useful work experience! Work experience can be difficult to find, especially if you are looking into specialist, professional jobs such as nursing or journalism; however, work experience does not have to be related to your future career! Any experience in a workplace can show that you have built useful skills that can be adapted to any job. For example: ‘I undertook a week’s worth of work experience in my local café. This allowed me to develop team building skills, as well as an ability to work under pressure in a professional environment’. Work experience is a great way to bulk up your CV and give you an extra edge over other candidates; it also allows you to use your time over the summer wisely in order to help yourself in the future.

2. Road Trips, Day Trips or Holidays

Summer should be an opportunity to relax after exams, whether that’s GCSEs or A-levels. It’s important to take some holiday time! Holidays don’t always have to be somewhere abroad with your parents, getting down and dirty in a camping site or hiking in the British rain – there are lots of different holidaying options to consider! Have you got any friends that can drive? Why not plan a road trip across the country (with your parents’ permission of course). This is not the cheapest option, but it’s a lot of fun and will definitely build up your friendships. Something a little cheaper could be camping out at a local campsite (check your local campsites’ age restrictions). This would be a great replication of the NCS programme but on a smaller scale; if you or your friends can’t attend NCS or commit to the 4-week programme, a few days to a week on a campsite can be just as exciting! If money is not an option at all, days out in the local community – picnics in the park, bike rides, board game days etc – can be a great way to get everyone active and involved.

3. Internships/Apprenticeships

If you have a lot of spare time over the summer, and want to gain some experience whilst perhaps earning a salary, why not try applying for an internship or apprenticeship programme? Internships and apprenticeships are comparable to a long term work experience place – they are an opportunity to learn about a chosen career path, gain valuable skills in the workplace, and to learn about and decide whether a certain job is best suited for you. If you are interested in researching different internships or apprenticeships, this website has a list of applications, as well as help applying. This experience is another great way to improve your CV, as well as (perhaps) providing you with a source of income over the summer to support other activities. Alongside this, ‘Mondelēz’ is offering an internship for teenagers interested in food technology/food science; more information on this topic can be found here!

4. Start a Project

This is a great way to spend your summer, really making a difference, either in the community or for yourself and your peers. Projects can range across large scale fundraising, all the way to a simple bake sale, or even some voluntary community service! A project typically involves supporting a local charity/organisation by raising funds or awareness for their message. Charities such as Rainbows, Cancer Research, The Salvation Army, Mind and many others support a range of different illnesses and issues in society – all deserving of support and awareness. Many of these charities will also have a fundraising page, on which you will be able to contact them, in order to get some supplies to help with your project. You can conduct your project over days, weeks or even months to gain more and more support, and as much help as you can for your chosen charity.

Alternatively, you may not have the time or sponsors to be able to support a charity, in which case you can help directly in your local community! Cafés, schools, care homes, leisure centres and many more local buildings and businesses may appreciate a helping hand! Why not even combine the two ideas? Fundraise during a couple of weeks’ worth of events or activities, asking local centres or schools if they would like a new paint job, gardening service or even something as simple as window cleaning, then spend the money you have earnt through fundraising on supplies to make a difference in your community!

However you spend your summer, whether you’re camping out on NCS, becoming a barista at your local café, hiking through the British countryside, making a living as a food scientist, raising money for Cancer Research or doing something completely different, we hope you spend it wisely and enjoyably. We also wish all of you receiving GCSE, AS and A-Level results the best of luck! Have a fantastic summer and remember not to miss any opportunities, because ‘It All Starts at Yes’.

5. National Citizenship Service (NCS)

As an NCS graduate myself, I must encourage any teenagers aged 15 to 17 to participate in NCS this summer (or if you’re a grad like me, why not apply as a volunteer?). It truly is a fantastic experience and amazing value – just £50 for 4 weeks of action, fun and development – both personal and professional. You can participate in NCS with friends or by yourself; in both cases you’re bound to meet lots of new friends on your time away! Your first week consists of an ‘adventure’ week, where you will take a weeklong trip to an outdoor activity camp – during which you will camp out and participate in lots of team building and adrenaline-fuelled fun! During week two, you will spend a week at a university campus, learning life skills, as well as having the opportunity to speak to lots of different charities, business people and other professionals. On the third and fourth weeks, you will have free reign within your group to decide which project you would like to undertake, what action you would like to preform, and how you’re going to raise money, awareness or support for your chosen charity/organisation.

My friends and I decided to support Framework, a homeless charity situated in Nottingham, for which we raised over £800. During our third and fourth weeks, we held a 24 hour ‘stay awake’, a cake sale, spoke on a radio station, published a news article, and much more! NCS was a fulfilling experience that I highly recommend, and also a great way to spend 4 weeks of your summer break!