Working at The Challenge, you hear stories about the life-changing impacts of NCS every day. This is just my story.

 Seaosnal rolesI really didn’t know what to expect when I signed up to work as a mentor last year. I knew a fair bit about NCS – that it was a summer programme designed to bring young people from different backgrounds together and help them develop important life skills. But I’d never have guessed just how fulfilling and inspiring working on NCS would be.

I saw the young people in my team challenge themselves, grow in confidence, take the role of leader and support each other as a team. My favourite moment was the day we visited an elderly care home in the local area. When we arrived my team were unusually quiet and told me they were very nervous about speaking to people they’d never met who were from a completely different generation. What if they didn’t have anything to talk about? But after just a few minutes they were chatting, smiling, sharing stories and playing games with the residents. They’d grown in confidence and were getting on so well with people they didn’t know at all, who were very different from themselves.

This is just one experience, but research released last week confirms that NCS is helping young people build important life skills including confidence, resilience, teamwork and leadership skills. Seven out of ten NCS participants from 2015 said they felt more confident about being able to get a job and an incredible nine out of ten said they had learnt important skills for the future. Graduates were also found to be more comfortable mixing with people from different backgrounds, therefore reducing prejudices and increasing levels of social trust. In our wonderfully diverse society, it’s important that programmes like NCS give us the opportunity to get to know and trust people who are different from ourselves.

As a result of all these benefits, 91% of NCS participants said they would recommend the programme to their friends. One of our graduates said; ‘I’ve learnt how to understand people for who they are, I’ve learnt how to work in a team and I’ve learnt that I can do more than I ever thought possible. Definitely do NCS because it changed my life, I’m now more confident as a person and I find it easier to talk to people, it was the summer of a lifetime.’

The Challenge is a major provider of NCS. If you’re interested in getting involved, have a look at our website here.

Grace Annan-Callcott