HeadStart is a programme developed by The Challenge exclusive to NCS graduates.

It's a chance for graduates to continue their NCS journey and give back to their local community through exciting volunteering opportunities. HeadStart is offered in London and Birmingham and will be delivered in Manchester for the first time this year. 

Give time

It all starts with giving time. We help young people find volunteering opportunities that fit their interests and availability and then support them to complete 16+ hours of volunteering. Whether that is choosing one of hundreds of opportunities HeadStart has found, continuing with existing volunteering, or finding something different.

Get ahead

A young person only has to complete one hour of volunteering to gain access to our exclusive workshops, designed to enhance their interpersonal and employability skills. We work with businesses like Starbucks, New Look, Bloomberg, Lloyd’s Bank, GLA, Zendesk and Berkeley. They believe in the power of volunteering so much, that when a young person volunteers 16 hours or more, they will guarantee them a job interview. It’s a great way of helping young people get the head start they need and a way of saying thank you for giving up their free time to volunteer.


The benefits

  • Personalised online profile - easy access to all of your HeadStart progress
  • Exclusive workshops, events & professional development opportunities - expert advice on employability skills, interview preparation, and how volunteering can work for you
  • ‘Get Ahead’ event - an awesome opportunity to meet and learn from global business leaders, to help you get ahead
  • Completer certificate - to say THANKS and to use in your CV beyond HeadStart
  • Become a HeadStart ambassador - share your HeadStart story with future participants and benefit from further professional development opportunities

participants have delivered over 50,000 hours volunteering

99% of participants felt more confident after HeadStart

50% of participants felt an increase in how generally trustworthy they believe most other people to be.

“HeadStart has given me the confidence to believe in myself and to help me to achieve what I would have previously thought wasn't possible.”

Lauren, HeadStart participant