What are you doing this summer?
It’s a question that we ask young people when we’re telling them about National Citizen Service, a programme that gets them to meet new people, develop their skills and then work together to make a positive impact in their local communities. It’s a question that we’re asking students at York too – NCS isn’t just a brilliant experience for the young people who take part.
It’s honestly one of the best places I have worked, and definitely the best summer job I’ve had. Whether it’s being a mentor to a team, a practitioner teaching them drama skills or working with them to develop a social action project, there’s something special about watching young people develop confidence, skills and enthusiasm for helping others.
I’ve worked on the NCS programme for two years, and out of all of it I’d say it’s the volunteering and community side I enjoy the most. That’s partly because there’s nothing more inspiring than seeing a group of 15-17 year olds put their enthusiasm and passion into helping other people. But it’s also because I got involved in NCS after spending my time at university volunteering in schools and on half-term and summer holiday projects – experiences that were some of the best of my time as a student. Volunteering gave me more than friends and good stories too. It’s the reason I had the skills I needed to get a job working in the youth and community sector.
The benefits of volunteering experience in applying for a job on the NCS programme, or any job working with young people and the wider community, are huge. If you’ve worked with young people in the past, you’ll be in a better place to understand and empathise with them – something crucial when working on a programme that challenges them to try new things and actively pushes them out of their comfort zone. Similarly, having experience of volunteering with charities or community groups will give you some ideas about how to get young people passionate about helping others, and learning to work with lots of different people is a fantastic life skill as much as a workplace one.
Passion for our ethos of social mixing, a belief in and inspiring of young people, experience in youth and community work, teamwork, leadership, motivating people – these are some of the key things we look for when assessing candidates for positions on NCS. The same skills you can develop through a short- or longer-term volunteering placement. It’s the same for employers everywhere, not just in youth work. The great thing about working for NCS too, is that all of our roles are paid!
So what are you doing this weekend, with your evenings, with your holidays? In the same way that we challenge our participants to go out and find a cause they’re passionate about, I’d challenge you to do the same. There are hundreds of charities in York and around Yorkshire that would love to have motivated, skilled students working with them – and as well as doing something good, you’ll be building up your skills to land a job in the holidays and once you graduate.
For a full list of paid Summer role descriptions and to apply, please visit: www.ncsthechallenge.org/jobs