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National Citizen Service 'helps young people get ahead'

GREAT OUTDOORS: NCS participants get involved in a group activity

DAVID CAMERON’S vision of turning teenagers into model citizens through a structured programme of group activities is giving young people more confidence, an independent report has found.

The National Citizen Service (NCS), which was launched in 2011, offers 16 and 17-year-olds the opportunity to give back to their community while developing skills they can take into further education or the workplace.

It takes place over a three-week period plus 30 hours committed to a community project.

According to a report from NatCen Social Research, published last month, nine out of 10 participants said they felt their involvement had given them a chance to better themselves, while nearly three quarters said they felt more self-assured about getting a job.

Nick Hurd, minister for civil society, said: “This [research] gives us the confidence to press ahead with really ambitious expansion plans…We want every 16-year-old to have this opportunity.”

In 2013, 50,000 places were available but will be increased to 90,000 in 2014.

Hurd added: “So far, we are getting £2 of value for every £1 of public money we spend. The most significant impact has been on what might be called work-ready skills in particular, helping young people develop confidence and teamwork, leadership and communication skills, all of which are very important in the workplace.”

Elizabeth Adefuwa, 16, of Brockley, southeast London, enrolled in the scheme this year. The Sydenham School pupil, who recently achieved 3 A*s and 8 As in her GCSE exams, said she was enticed by the prospects offered after NCS representatives delivered a talk to her year group.

She said: “It really is a once in a life-time experience, and I’m so glad I had the chance to do it. It taught me so much about team work. I would love to see more young people get involved because people talk a lot about building better communities and this is a fun way to do it.”

For more information, visit: www.ncsyes.co.uk

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