Frequently asked questions

Click on 'Search FAQs', start typing a word and all the relevant FAQs will be listed. 
Alternatively, you can read through the FAQs within the relevant categories. 



1. How do I use this website?

1.1 What do I need to do on the Staffing Website?

The icon to the left of each section will tell you what you need to do.

If the icon is a blue tick, you have completed all of this section.

If the icon is a green wheel, this section is incomplete.

If the icon is a red cross, there is a problem with this section which you need to review immediately.

1.2 What do the stages on my home page mean?

The three stages on your homepage refer to the main stages of our employment process. Some stages will be unavailable or ‘locked’ at certain points of your application. For instance, the ‘Booking Assessments’ section will only be available if your application is successful.

The application stage: This stage is for candidates who are interested in working with us. Here you can:

– Update the 'My Profile' section
– Complete your application
– Book onto an assessment*

*Please note: the 'Booking Assessments' page is only available once your application has been screened as 'successful'.

The placement stage: These sections become available once  you have passed an assessment. Here you can:

– Choose which 'waves' you would like to work on
– Indicate when you are not available to work
– Apply for a DBS certificate or upload your existing one
– Provide personal details (e.g. health & safety; bank & tax)
– Book onto training

The programme stage: This stage is only available once  you have a confirmed place on the NCS programme. Here you can:

– Access and 'sign' your contract(s)
– Download your timetable(s)
– Access online resources for your role

1.3 Why can’t I click on some parts of the website?

In order to make sure we only collect information from candidates if and when we need it, we 'lock' certain sections of the website for users depending on which stage they're at in the recruitment process. This means that you'll only have access to the sections that you currently need for your role.

E.g. You will not be able to book a space on training until you have been offered a seasonal role (post-assessment).

1.4 I cannot update some of my information. Why?

Some sections of the website (including the application form and some pages of the 'Essential Information' section are 'locked' once you have submitted content so that we can process the information.

If you need to change your information* but are unable to access the right part of the Staffing Website please contact your local staffing team.

*Once your application form is submitted, you will not be allowed to go back and edit it.

1.5 What is your data protection policy?

Data Protection Policy:


1.1 During the course of our activities we, The Challenge, will process personal data and sensitive personal data (which may be held on paper, electronically, or otherwise) about our seasonal staff, and we recognise the need to treat it in an appropriate and lawful manner, in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). The purpose of this policy is to make you aware of how we will handle personal and sensitive personal data.


2.1 For the purposes of this policy:

Employee/s means Seasonal  Staff.

Personal Data means recorded information we hold about Employees, Volunteers, Applicants and Participants from which an individual can be identified. It may include contact details, other personal information, photographs, expressions of opinion or indications as to The Challenge’s intentions about the individual.

Sensitive Data means personal data consisting of information about the data subject’s racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious beliefs or beliefs of a similar nature, trade union membership, physical or mental health or condition, sexual life, sickness records, interview notes, equal opportunities monitoring form, payroll information, pension scheme, criminal records check, DBS reports.

Processing means doing anything with the data, such as accessing, disclosing, destroying or using the data in any way.


3.1 We will comply with the eight data protection principles in the DPA, which say that Personal Data must be:

(a) Processed fairly and lawfully 

(b) Processed for limited purposes and in an appropriate way

(c) Adequate, relevant and not excessive for the purpose

(d) Accurate

(e) Not kept longer than necessary for the purpose

(f) Processed in line with individuals’ rights

(g) Secure

(h) Not transferred to people or organisations situated in other countries without adequate protection.


4.1 We will usually only process your personal data where you have given your consent or where the processing is necessary to comply  with our legal obligations. In other cases, processing may be necessary for the protection of your vital interests, for our legitimate interests or the legitimate interests of others.

4.2 We will only process ‘sensitive personal data’ about ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or similar beliefs, trade union membership, health, criminal proceedings or convictions, where a further condition is also met. Usually, this will mean that you have given your explicit consent, or that the processing is legally required for employment purposes. The full list of conditions is set out in the DPA.


5.1 We will process data about seasonal staff for legal, personnel, administrative and management purposes and to enable us to meet our legal obligations as an employer, for example, to pay you. monitor your performance and ensure your safety when participating in adventurous activities with our partners.

5.2 We may process sensitive personal data relating to seasonal staff including, as appropriate:

(a) information about an employee’s physical or mental health or condition in order to make decisions as to the employee’s fitness for work (i.e. what activities you can and cannot participate in on the Personal Challenge);

(b) the employee’s racial or ethnic origin or religious or similar information in order to monitor compliance with equal opportunities legislation;

(c) in order to comply with legal requirements and obligations to third parties, such as our partners during the Personal Challenge.


6.1 We will only process your personal data for the specific purpose or purposes notified to you or for any other purposes specifically permitted by the DPA.


7.1 We will keep the personal data we store about you accurate and up to date. Data that is inaccurate or out of date will be destroyed. Please notify us if your personal details change or if you become aware of any inaccuracies in the personal data we hold about you.


8.1 We will not keep your personal data for longer than is necessary for the purpose. This means that data will be destroyed or erased from our systems when it is no longer required.


9.1 You have the right to:

(a) Request access to any personal data we hold about you

(b) Prevent the processing of your data for direct-marketing purposes

(c) Ask to have inaccurate data held about you amended

(d) Prevent processing that is likely to cause unwarranted substantial damage or distress to you or anyone else

(e) Object to any decision that significantly affects you being taken solely by a computer or other automated process.


10.1 We will ensure that appropriate measures are taken against unlawful or unauthorised processing of personal data, and against the accidental loss of, or damage to, personal data.

10.2 We have in place procedures and technologies to maintain the security of all personal data from the point of collection to the point of destruction. We will only transfer personal data to a third part if it agrees with those procedures and policies, or if it puts in place adequate measures itself.

10.3 Maintaining data security means guaranteeing the confidentiality, integrity and availability (for authorised purposes) of the personal data.


11.1 We will disclose your personal data to our partners who have extensive experience in providing adventurous activities. This is solely for your safety. We will not disclose your personal data to other third parties without your consent unless we are satisfied that they are legally entitled to the data. Where we do disclose your personal data to a third party, we will have regard to the eight data protection principles.


12.1 If you wish to know what personal data we hold about you, you must make the request in writing. All such requests should be forwarded to HR.


13.1 If you consider that this policy has not been followed in respect of personal data about yourself or others you should raise the matter with your manager. Any breach of this policy will be taken seriously.

2. My Profile

2.1 I have forgotten my password. What can I do?

You can retrieve your password using the 'Forgotton Password?' option on the login page. This will trigger an email containing your password to be sent to your email account.

Once you are successfully logged into the Staffing Website, we would advise you to change your password.

2.2 I have forgotten the email address I registered with.

Contact your local staffing team. They will be able to look you up on our system using your name and phone number and let you know which email address you used. They can also update your email address if you wish.

Please note, the staffing team is unable to tell you what your password is, but you can request this password using the ‘Forgotton Password?’ option on the login page.

2.3 How do I change my password?

Once you have logged in click on ‘My Profile’. At the bottom of your profile there is an option to update your password. Click here and change your password.

2.4 How do I update my contact details?

The ‘My Profile’ section will remain unlocked permanently so that you can update your address and contact details whenever you need to.

If you have any problems changing this information, please contact your local staffing team who can update this manually. Please note that your email address is also your login to the Staffing Website.

2.5 I do not have a National Insurance (NI) number. What should I do?

You must have a National Insurance (NI) number to work on the NCS programme. This is a legal requirement, and you will not be able to submit an application to work with us without one. Please see below for guidance on what you will need to do.

You are a UK citizen, but you have never received an NI number
All UK citizens and residents are legally required to make national insurance contributions for any paid work they complete. You can obtain an NI number from your local job centre – the process usually takes between 2-3 weeks. More information can be found here.

You are an EU citizen and have never applied for an NI number
If you are an EU citizen and UK resident you are legally required to make National Insurance contributions for any paid work they complete. You can obtain an NI number from your local job centre – the process usually takes between 2-3 weeks. More information can be found here.

Non-EU citizen with Right To Work in the UK
If you are an EU citizen and UK resident you are legally required to make National Insurance contributions for any paid work they complete. You can obtain an NI number from your local job centre – the process usually takes between 2-3 weeks. More information can be found here.

Non-EU citizen without Right To Work in the UK
It is the responsibility of all non-British or EU citizens to check whether their visa enables them ot work in the UK. We do not support or help process any visa applications.

2.6 What if I need additional support to carry out my role?

We take pride in our diverse workforce and we welcome application from applicants with additional needs.

In the final sections of the application form, we encourage you to tell us about your disability and/or any adjustments or assistance you may require at assessment and/or on the programme. Please complete this information as fully as possible. Any information you provide will enable us to support you appropriately throughout the recruitment process and your employment.

If you have any concerns which you'd like to discuss with us, please get in touch with your local staffing team.

3. The NCS seasonal programmes

3.1 What are The Challenge and the NCS seasonal programmes?

The Challenge is the UK’s largest provider of National Citizen Service (NCS). NCS is a seasonal youth and community programme designed to boost the skills, confidence and social awareness of young people through outdoors activities and community-based volunteering. We believe that with the right tools and support, young people can make a real difference in their local communities.

Our seasonal programmes take place in February, October and throughout June, July and August. In each programme, teams of young people progress through the programme in three stages:

NCS: Personal Challenge: Teams of 15-17 year-olds create friendships, overcome fears and build confidence through intense outdoor activities like abseiling and rafting during a week away from home.

NCS: Team Challenge: The teams return to their local community to learn a new skill (drama, enterprise, photography, art, sport, or media) and use it as a way to build relationships with members of the local community.

NCS: Real Challenge: Teams design a sponsored activity for a local charity and a campaign focused on an issue in their local community. They then pitch their plans to a panel of ‘dragons’ for project funding and advice. Once they have designed their campaigns, teams deliver their social action projects over several weekends.

3.2 When does each seasonal programme take place?

Our seasonal programmes have been designed to coincide with the breaks in the school year. Each programme consists of the same 3 ‘sections’; the key differences are in the length of each wave, the number of waves and the seasonal staff roles available.

The Autumn programme takes place throughout October, with some roles continuing into November. In contrast, the summer programme runs from late June to late August, with several ‘waves’ running at once. In each programme there are multiple start dates and work dates for staff to choose from.

Specific work dates for each programme vary depending on your chosen seasonal role. Please refer to the role guides on the NCSTheChallenge website for programme start dates.

3.3 Where do we deliver the NCS programmes?

We run the NCS programme in various locations across England. We break-down the larger areas into ‘regions’, and these regions are then divided into clusters of boroughs:

West Midlands

Coventry & Solihull
Sandley, Dudley & Sandwell
North Birmingham
South Birmingham
South & North Warwickshire

North-West England

Blackburn & Preston
Burnley, Blackpool & Wigan
Bury & Central Manchester
Rochdale, Tameside & Stockport



West London

Ealing & Harrow
Kensington & Chelsea
Hammersmith & Fulham
Wandsworth & Westminster
Merton, Kingston & Richmond

South London & Surrey

Bexley & Bromley
Croydon & Sutton
Greenwich & Lewisham
Lambeth & Southwark
Epsom, Reigate & Mole Valley
Guildford, Staines & Woking

North-East London

Barking, Havering & Newham
Brent & Camden
Enfield & Haringey
Waltham Forest & Redbridge
Hackney, Islington & Tower Hamlets

Buckinghamshire & Berkshire

Slough & High Wycombe
Reading & Newbury

3.4 What are The Challenge’s values?

Our Values are available on the organisation website and are listed below.

Local – National
We maximise our local impact, supported by national influence, efficiencies and scale.

•    We use local knowledge to work with our local communities.
•    We seek opportunities to increase the number of people benefiting from our programmes.
•    We work collaboratively across the organisation to support our colleagues, maximise our efficiency and effectiveness.

Challenging – Humble
We strive for continuous improvement, with understanding and respect for all those we work with.

•    We develop by sharing feedback with colleagues and partners.
•    We look for improvements in what we do and how we do it.
•    We seek, understand and respect other people’s point of view.
•    We trust in each other to make the right decisions for The Challenge to support our mission.

Professional – Real
We are true to ourselves, and commit to always perform at our best.

•    We have high standards and take pride in all we do.
•    We learn from our mistakes.
•    We have a warm and approachable culture.

4. My Application

4.1 I am having trouble registering my details. What should I do?

If you are having trouble registering your details it is most likely because we already have a profile for you on our system. A profile is created whenever someone applies or formally expresses an interest to work with us. See examples and how to get around this issue below.

a. I already expressed an interest online via your form OR I attended a careers event and provided contact details. You can access your profile on the system by requesting your password using the 'Forgotten Password?' option. This will enable you to retrieve a temporary password, which you will need to change once successfully logged in. You will need to know the email address you provided before – if you are unsure, please contact your local staffing team.

b. I worked in 2014 or 2015 and would like to return to work. You won't need to register again – just log in using the same username and password as before. Once you're logged in, you can start a new application and update your personal information. If you've forgotten your login details please read FAQ 2.1 & 2.2.

c. I worked before 2014 and would like to return work. If you worked with us before 2014, you will not have used the Staffing Website before – however, we will have your details on our system already. You can access your profile on the system by requesting your password using the 'Forgotten Password?' option. This will send you a temporary password, which you should change once you are logged in. If you aren't sure which email address you used, please contact your local staffing team.

4.2 How do I complete an application?

There are three steps to the application process:

1. Complete the registration form using the ‘Sign Up’ button (new staff only*) – this registration process creates a new profile for you on our system. You will then be emailed login details – once successfully logged in you can start to update your details.

2. Update and fill in the ‘My Profile’ section – make sure that we have all the relevant contact details for you. You will not be able to start the application form until this is complete.

3. Work your way through the application form – you can leave the form at any point and come back to it later – however, you must remember to ‘save’ before exiting. You will be able to edit your previous work until you ‘submit’ your application.

*If you have already given us your contact details (e.g. filled out an ‘expression of interest’ form at one of our attraction events), we will have already made a profile for you on our system. Please read FAQ 4.1 for instructions.

4.3 What if I do not have all of the information needed to complete an application?

Help text can be found under the ‘information’ icons to the left of each question on the application form. It instructs you on how to complete each question and explains what is required of you for each section. If you are still unsure of what to do – please contact your local staffing team. 

Please note: if you do not have enough information to complete the NI section please read FAQ 2.5.

4.4 Where can I access role descriptions and start dates?

You can find job descriptions for all of our roles on our NCSthechallenge website.

If you scroll to the bottom of the each job description you will find all of the potential work dates for the role you are looking at. These work dates will be broken down into 'waves' and sections (PC, TC, RCD, RCA)  – you will need to be available for a full row of dates.

Please note that some  roles will not be available on all of the seasonal programmes, and that start dates will vary.

For more information or clarification of work dates, contact us at [email protected].

4.5 Can I apply for multiple roles and locations?

We welcome applicants to select as many roles as they like – the Staffing Team will decide which role(s) you are best suited to when screening you, and will make a final decision post-assessment.

Similarly, you can also apply to work in as many locations as you like – in fact, the better your flexibility in where you can work, the greater your chance will be of securing a work placement with us!

You will be asked to select one location as your 'first choice' – however, we cannot guarantee that you will get placed in this location.

4.6 I am having difficulty uploading my CV, what should I do?

Our new application form cannot support documents larger than 4MB. If you have attempted to upload a CV which is larger than 4MB, you will find an error message. You need to save and exit your application, and try the upload again with a smaller file. 

4.7 When will I hear back about my application?

We will start reviewing 2016 applications from January. After this point, we aim to respond to all applications for our seasonal roles within two weeks, regardless of the outcome. If you have not heard from us within this period, please contact your local staffing team.

Our responses will indicate whether or not we wish to invite you to an assessment, or if your application has been unsuccessful for this year. Due to the volume of applications we receive for our seasonal roles, we cannot provide individual feedback about your application.

4.8 My application form won’t save – what do I do?

There are a few reasons why your application might not be saving:

1) You have not filled in all of the answer fields: Questions marked with a blue (*) are compulsory and the application will not save or submit without them. Please go back and fill answer any questions you have left blank.

2) Your broadband is slow: We've heard from a couple of accounts that the 'conditional' questions (i.e. Qs asking for more detail following a 'yes' answer) have trouble loading if the user's internet is slow. This means that you will not have completed all of the questions on the form. If possible, please try to connect to a different broadband (university and local libraries generally provide good Wi-Fi) and fill out your application then. If this is not possible, try accessing the application form during a non-peak time – generally, broadband providers have most activity in the evenings.

3) A technical glitch has occurred: If an error message pops up when you try to save or submit your application, this means that our website is experiencing technical issues. Please submit a 'help' query. ideally with a printscreen on the error message. We'll do our best to get back to you within 3 days. 

4.9 Some of the questions I’ve answered won’t save. What should I do?

This problem might be occurring because you are writing too much in your answer. Most of our 'long answer' questions have a character limit of 1,000 characters – this is more or less 250 words, although this depends on the length of the words you're using!

If you're having trouble saving your longer questions, please try reviewing them and cutting them to make them more concise. An ideal answer would be no longer than 200 words.

4.10 I was previously on the NCS programme as a young person, and am now having trouble signing up for a seasonal role. What do I do?

We welcome applications from young people (aged over 18, or turning 18 on or before 1 April 2016) who have first hand experience of the NCS programme! However, sometimes our system gets confused when you already have a ‘young person’ account with the same email address.

If possible, please try to ‘sign up’ to the staffing website with an alternative email address. If you don’t have another email address, let us know on [email protected] and we’ll get our systems team to unlink your two accounts (please note, this can take up to 2 weeks during busy periods).

You may also be having trouble signing up for a seasonal role – please be aware that, for safeguarding reasons, we cannot accept applications from anyone under the age of 18, unless they will turn 18 on or before 1 April 2016. If you are not old enough to work on the programme, but have been on the NCS programme as a young person before, please get in touch with the Graduates team on [email protected] and ask about how you can get involved in voluntary mentoring opportunities!

4.11 I am under 18 – can I apply for a seasonal role?

Unfortunately,  we cannot accept applications for our seasonal roles from candidates under the age of 18 – unless they will turn 18 on or before 1 April 2016. If you will not be of age on or before this date, you won’t be able to sign up on the staffing website. However, we’d love for you to reapply when you are old enough!

4.12 How do I submit a technical help query on the staffing website?

If you are experiencing technical trouble whilst filling out any section of the staffing website you can submit a technical help query – click on the ‘Help’ button at the top of the page.

A form will come up on the page. Please give us your full name, and the phone number and email address you’ve signed up with. In the ‘summary’ field, please try to be as concise as possible, rather than simply writing ‘Application’ or ‘Technical problem’. This will help us to locate your email easily if we need to liaise with our systems team to solve your problem.

Finally, in the ‘Details of your problem’ section please outline your problem, including the exact page you’re on; any error messages that come up; and what measures you’ve taken so far (e.g. logging out and back in; ‘save and exit’ rather than ‘save and continue’ etc.). The more information we have here, the quicker we can solve your problem.

Please note that if your problem is not ‘technical’, e.g. not due to a website fault, you should not be submitting a ‘help query’. Please contact our Central Staffing team on [email protected].

5. Assessments

5.1 Do I need to attend an assessment?

New applicants: If you are applying to work on the NCS programme for the first time, and your application is successful, you will be invited to one of our group assessments. Our assessment format allows us to determine whether or not you are suitable for any of our seasonal roles and are mandatory for all new candidates.

Returners applying for a different role: You may need to attend an assessment. You will have received an email outlining your feedback and what roles we'd consider you for next. If your email does not indicate that you should try a different role, and you are unsure what to do, please contact your local staffing team.

Returners (2015 staff) applying for the same role: You will not need to assess again – your suitability for the role will be assessed based on your feedback from earlier programmes.

5.2 I am unable to attend an assessment in person. Can I be interviewed remotely?

We carry out group assessments for our seasonal roles for two reasons; first, it allows us to assess as many people for our roles as possible, and second, it means we can assess how candidates will react in certain situations through tasks such as group discussions and role plays.

Therefore, we do not carry out 1-2-1 interviews or assessments over Skype – there must be an element of group interaction. If you feel this may be an issue, please contact your local staffing team to discuss your options.

5.3 What if I can’t make any of the assessment dates?

If you are unable to attend any of the assessment dates offered to you (you must have a valid reason), you can 'decline' these dates, and may be offered additional future dates to choose from. If we do not have any additional dates, you can complete an 'Alternative Dates Form'. In this you will need to provide adequate reasons for why you cannot attend an assessment, and dates you are currently unavailable for. Once you have submitted this, the staffing team will get back to you in 1-2 weeks to discuss your options.

We try to give candidates at least two assessment dates to choose from, however this s not always possible. As our assessments fill up very quickly, we may not be in a position to offer you alternative dates. We would encourage you to check your schedule thoroughly before declining an event.

5.4 Do I need to attend the whole assessment?

Applicants must attend the whole event. If you feel that you will not be available for the whole assessment, please contact your local staffing team at least two days prior to the event date

5.5 I have booked onto an assessment, but I can no longer make it.

If you cannot make it to your booked assessment for a valid reason, please contact your local staffing team to discuss your options. It is advised that you call them, but we accept email notifications too.

5.6 There are no assessment dates available. What should I do?

If there are no assessment dates listed for you on the 'Booking Assessments' page, it is most likely that you are attempting to register onto an assessment near the end of our recruitment cycle, or because we have very few places left for your chosen role.

This is due to the high number of candidates who we will have already assessed and the reduced need for more assessment dates.

Please contact your staffing team to discuss your options.

5.7 What are the assessments like?

Assessments contain group exercises which simulate activities and scenarios that you would undertake in your role. Assessments generally run for around four hours, with short breaks throughout. 

5.8 What do I need to bring to assessment?

What you need to prepare will depend on the assessment you are attending. Please check the the 'Booking Assessments' page to see what you should prepare. 

You should wear smart-casual, comfortable clothing and appropriate footwear. Although the entire assessment takes place indoors, some activities do involve a degree of physical activity.

Documents you MUST bring:
You will need to bring documents to prove your identity and confirm your Right To Work (RTW) in the UK,

a. Confirm your RTW in the UK – the most common document is a UK passport (which can also be used to confirm your identity). If you do not have a UK passport, please check other valid document types that can be used on the website.

b. Confirm your identity – please bring some kind of photo identification. The most common forms of ID are passports (any nationality) or driving licenses.

Please note that we will not accept photocopies, only original documents. During your assessment your documents will be checked and scanned by a member of the staffing team. If your documents ae not checked as assessment, we will check them at training instead (if successful).

5.9 When will I find out the assessment outcome?

You will receive the outcome of your assessment two weeks after your assessment date. This will be communicated to you via email from your local staffing team.  If you do not hear back in this period, please contact your local staffing team.

5. 10 What is the next step following an assessment?

Successful applicants will need to book a place onto training and you will be asked to complete your essential information. This can all be done via the Staffing Website in the ‘Booking Training’ and ‘Essential Information’ sections. 

More information on this will be available at a later date in section 7 of the FAQs. 

6. Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

6.1 I don’t have a DBS certificate – when should I apply for one?

We ask candidates to apply for a DBS certificate through the 'Essential Information' section as soon as they are offered a role.

– Retrieve your offer role email.
– Follow the instructions – please make note of the organisation pin and secret word 
– Choose which 3 ID documents you will use – you must have these to hand!
– Print off the summary page and take it, with your ID documents, to the post office. More information here.

Please note, you will not be able to access the 'organisation pin' or 'secret word' until you have been offered a role after assessment.

6.2 What is a DBS?

DBS stands for Disclosure and Barring Service. This service is carried out to disclose an individual’s criminal record, and is used to determine their suitability to work with different groups of vulnerable people, including children, young people and adults. Once a ‘check’ has been processed, you’ll receive a certificate disclosing all (if any) of your previous convictions.

6.3 Why do I need a DBS?

Legally, anyone who works with groups of people classed as ‘vulnerable’ (including children and young people) must have a DBS check. For more information, please follow this link to the Government’s web page.

6.4 I already have an Enhanced DBS certificate from another organisation. Can I use this?

If your current DBS certificate matches the following criteria, you will be able to use this work on the programme.

The certificate must be:

  • Enhanced with Children's Barred Listing
  • Dated from 1 January 2015

You will need to make a scanned or photographed copy of your certificate and then upload it to the staffing website. This can be done either during the application process (page 4 of the application form), or later on the DBS page of the Essential Information section.

The scanned copy will then be checked for validity. If we cannot verify your certificate, you will need to start an application for a new DBS.

You will be asked to bring your original certificate to your assessment to be witnessed by a member of the staffing team.

6.5 There is a listing on my DBS. Can I still work on the programme?

You can potentially still work on the programme, depending on what the listing is for. If you have an existing DBS with a listing, you will need to upload a scanned/photographed copy as usual for our approval.

We will then need to witness the original copy at either assessment or training.

6.6 How do I apply for a new DBS for summer 2016?

The Challenge will cover the costs of your DBS application.

We'll email you instructions on how to apply for a new DBS in your job offer email – for new staff this will be following your assessment. These instructions will include the ‘organisation pin’ and ‘secret word’ needed for the application.

New applicants – once you’ve been offered a role with us, you’ll need to take your printed ‘summary’ page and chosen ID documents to the Post Office. Make sure you do this within 14 days of starting your DBS application!

6.7 Why am I unable to log in to the GB Group website?

If you’re accessing the GB Group website to do your DBS application for the first time, you need to ‘register’ (button on right side of the page) first. Your staffing website login will not work on the GB Group website, as you are not automatically registered.

Please ensure that you use the same email address as the one used for your staffing account. This will allow us to approve and monitor it through your seasonal role application.

6.8 I’m applying for a new DBS but you haven’t told me the ‘organisation pin’.

We only give out the ‘Organisation Pin’ and ‘Secret Word’ to candidates once they’ve been offered a role (for new applicants, this is following an assessment).

If you’ve been offered a role, please consult your ‘job offer’ email. For new applicants, this email is titled “Your assessment for the NCS seasonal roles”. For returning staff, the email is titled “Your application for the NCS programme”.

If you haven’t been offered a role yet, please note that you will need to submit your application, be invited to an assessment (if a new applicant), and be offered a role before you can start your DBS application.

We use this process to ensure that we only pay for DBS certificates for candidates who we’ll actually work with in the summer.

6.9 I missed the deadline for taking my DBS application and documents to the Post Office. What now?

If you didn’t manage to get your DBS application ‘summary page’ and ID documents to the Post Office within 14 days of starting your application, you’ll need to start the process again on the GB Group website.

Please sign in as usual (using the same email address you used in your NCS application) – your old application will have been deleted so you can start afresh.

6.10 How long will my DBS application take to process?

DBS applications can take anywhere between 2 weeks to 4 months to process, which is why you need to start your application as soon as possible.

The length of time you’ll have to wait varies for each application, as it is dependent on various factors, including (but not exclusive to) the number of addresses you’ve lived at, where you live (some local authorities are quicker to process DBS applications than others), and if you have any previous convictions/warnings/penalties which need to be confirmed.

6.11 What happens if my DBS doesn’t come back before my role starts?

Unfortunately, we cannot legally allow you to work on the NCS programme until you have a DBS certificate. If your DBS still hasn’t come back a week before your role starts, we’ll call you and discuss alternative work dates (if possible), and we’ll sort out provisional cover for your upcoming role.

6.12 What is the DBS update service?

​The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) update service lets applicants keep their DBS certificates up to date online and allows employers to check a certificate online also. This is a service which only recipients of a DBS can sign up to. It allows candidates to apply for a DBS of a particular level once and then run checks on this certificate to see if it has been ‘updated’ with new information

Those that are on the DBS update service must have a certificate that is valid from 17th June 2013 and has Enhanced with Children's Barrred Listing.

If you meet the criteria above then you must upload a copy of your certificate and then email the following statement to [email protected].

'I, [Full Name] consent to The Challenge using the update service to check for any changes on my Enhanced DBS certificate with check of Children’s Barred List (s) at any point from January 2016 to December 2016.'

Once your certificate has been confirmed, you will need to bring it to your assessment for confirmation.

6.13 Which ‘position’ should I choose on the GB Group application form

When you're applying for a new DBS on the GB Group website, you'll need to select a 'position' or role. You should only be given one option (Carer – ch & VA).

If you're offered more than one option, please make sure you choose 'Carer – ch & VA' – this stands for Carer of children and vulnerable adults.

7. Job Offers and Essential Information

7.1 When will I hear back about my assessment?

Following your assessment we’ll aim to let you know the outcome within one working week. If you don’t hear back from us within this period please contact your local staffing team or call your staffing associate directly (their details will be on the bottom of your ‘invite to assessment’ email).

7.2 I have been ‘provisionally’ offered a role. What does this mean?

All of the roles we offer (both following assessment, or straight away for returning staff) are provisional and dependent on you completing all the other requirements on the staffing website.

Most importantly, you’ll need to obtain a valid ‘Enhanced DBS with Barred Listing’ (if you don’t already have one dated from 1 January 2015) before we can offer you a role. You’ll also need to have 2 satisfactory references, with at least one confirming your suitability to work with young people.

You also need to attend up to 3 days of compulsory training (depending on your role). You will not be allowed to work without this training.

Finally, you’ll need to make sure you submit all of the information needed in the ‘Essential Information’ page (available from February).

7.3 I have been offered a back-up role. Will I actually work? What can I do to increase my chances of working on the programme?

We usually offer back-up roles later in the recruitment period once most of our vacant roles have been filled. This is because, although we only have 4,500 vacancies throughout the summer, we expect a drop-out rate of up to 15% in the lead up to and throughout the NCS programme.

Having a large pool of back-up staff means that we can quickly and easily fill any sudden vacant roles without disrupting the programme or leaving any teams of young people in the lurch.In previous years, nearly all of our back-up staff have been offered roles throughout the NCS programme, and we hope to do the same this year.

To up your chances of getting a work placement over the summer, you must make sure you complete all of the tasks noted in FAQ 7.2. It’s also best to keep in regular contact with your staffing associate, and make sure that we know of any changes to your availability as soon possible.

We understand that it’s frustrating for our back-up staff, and are really grateful for your patience while we try to find you a vacant role!

7.4 Following my assessment, I haven’t been offered my preferred role. Is there anything I can do?

Throughout your assessment, our staff will have considered you for a range of roles and will have made a decision between them over which role you are best suited to. This decision is final.

Due to high numbers of staff applying for our roles, we regret that we cannot let candidates re-assess or interview for a different role if they are unhappy with the one they’ve been offered. Please do read through the role description for the role you’ve been offered, and if you don’t feel able to carry it out this summer, let your staffing associate know.

7.5 I’ve been offered a seasonal role – when will the sections on the ‘Placement stage’ be available?

Congratulations on your role offer! Over the next few months you’ll need to fill out the following sections when they become available:

Essential Information: Here you’ll need to fill out each page in this section when we prompt you to. Please note, we won’t need your bank and tax details until after April 2016.

Choosing when I can work: This section will be available from March; here you will be able to see all of the ‘waves’ for this year and the work dates they cover.

Dates when I can’t work: This section will also be available from March; this is where you let us know individual dates or periods of time when you won’t be available to work.

My summary: Available from March; this section is a summary of the ‘Choosing when I can work’ and ‘Dates when I can’t work’ sections.

Booking training: Available from April; you’ll be able to select training date(s) for your role.

We’ll be in touch when it’s time to fill out each of these questions.

7.6 When should I upload my bank and tax details?

We ask our seasonal staff to wait until April 2016 at the earliest to enter their bank and tax information. This means we can make sure that the details we have for you (for tax in particular) are as up-to-date as possible.

7.7 I’m not sure what to enter for my tax information.

You shouldn't give us your tax information until April 2016 – this ensures that the information you provide is relevant for the 2016 tax year.

If you have a P45 form from the 2016 tax year (issued from this April onwards), you'll need to send the correct part of your form to our payroll team – further inforrmation on how to do this will be available under the 'Tax Details' page under Essential Information. Documents dated before 4 April 2016 will be invalid for this tax year and no longer relevant, and will be returned to you.

If you don't have a P45, you'll need to make a tax declaration instead. You should choose the option which best reflects your employment circumstances as they will be at the beginning of your role.

Once we have this information, HMRC will provide us with a tax code for you. We can't change your tax code without instruction from HMRC.

We cannot answer queries about tax – if you're still unsure what to do on the tax section, please contact HMRC directly.

7.8 What references can I use?

New applicant – if you've not worked with us before, you'll need to provide us with contact details for 2 referees. Your references should be from either (a) your most recent employer, (b) your tutor or mentor at university, or (c) an individaul you've worked with in a voluntary capacity. These referees will be asked to confirm your suitability to work with children and young people.

Returner – if you've worked with us before, you'll only need provide us with one referee; we'll use our feedback from your work on the programme last year as your second reference. The referee you provide us with should still be either (a) your most recent employer, (b) your tutor or mentor at university, or (c) an individual you've worked with in a voluntary capacity.

Please note that if one or both of your referees are not suitble ('ve used a friend or family member) you will be asked to provide us with an alternative referee.

7.9 I’ve been asked to update one or more of my references. Why and how do I do this?

We'll ask you to update the one or more of the references you've provided for us for one of the following reasons:

a) We can't get in contact with your referee
b) Your referee is unsuitable (e.g. they are a friend or family member)
c) You referee did not feel able to provide a reference for you

If  we're not able to make contact with your referee we'll ask you to either provide different contact details for that referee, or provide a different referee altogether.

If your referee is deemed unsuitable, or if they declined to provide a reference for you, you'll need to provide a new referee altogether.

8. Health, Safeguarding and Inclusion

8.1 I have additional needs. What happens to information I disclose about my needs on the application form?

We encourage all candidates to disclose any additional needs they might have so that we can make reasonable adjustments to our recruitment process to remove any substantial barriers as a result of the disability of additional need.

When you disclose details of your additional needs on our application form, this information goes directly to our Inclusion Staffiing Team (IST), and is not available for other members of our screening staff to view. This means that your additional needs, and any information regarding them, will not be taken into account when we review your application, make decisions at assessment, or allocate work placements for the summer.

8.2 I have additional needs but don’t want to disclose details of them on my application form. Is there another way I can let the Staffing Team know of my needs?

If you would rather not disclose details of your additional needs on our application form, or if it is not the easiest way for you to communicate this information, you can contact our Inclusion Staffing Team (IST) either by email ([email protected]) or by phone (0203 542 2400).

Any information you disclose to IST will be treated confidentially, and will be used in order to arrange reasonable adjustments to our application, assessment, training, or your work placement on the NCS programme.

8.3 I did not disclose details of my additional needs throughout the recruitment process, and now I’m about to start my role. What should I do?

All seasonal staff are required to disclose information on any additional needs or requirements they might have in the Health, Safeguarding and Inclusion form once they've been offered a role.

If you have additional needs but have not let us know about them yet, you should contact the Inclusion Staffing Team (details below) and disclose any relevant information as soon as possible.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 0203 542 2400

It's so important that we have this information – we'll use it to ensure the safety of both yourself and others whilst on the NCS programme. Depending on your needs, we may seek further information, and we may need to complete a more thorough assessment of your need before you can work on the programme. This is assessed on a case-by-case basis, and should not deter you from disclosing this information to us. 

8.4 What happens with the health and medical information I disclose in the Health, Safeguarding and Inclusion form?

We'll use any information you disclose in the Health, Safeguarding and Inclusion form to assess whether you'll need any reasonable adjustments made on our part to the NCS programme. We may contact you for more information in order to make this assessment.

Any information you give us on your medical or health needs will be treated confidentially. and only shared outside of our Inclusion Staffing Team where appropriate. For example:

  • If you have special dietary requirements and/or allergies, this information will be shared with the necessary partner organisations to ensure that we can adapt your meals where necessary whilst you're on the programme.
  • Similarly, if you have any medical needs which will prevent you from taking part in some activities (e.g. outdoors activities like abseiling or kayaking), this information will be shared with the outdoor activities providers, and cover for your role will be secured.

If you'd like to discuss the Health, Safeguarding and Inclusion form, please contact our Inclusion Staffing Team on [email protected].

8.5 Why do I have to disclose if I am pregnant?

We'd like to know if you're pregnant just to check that the programme is as safe as possible for you. If you're working on the first week of the programme (NCS: Personal Challenge), you may not be able to participate in some of the outdoors activities.

8.6 I’m already submitting/applying for a DBS – why do I need to do a self-disclosure too?

The purpose of the 'self-disclosure' section of the Health, Safeguarding and Inclusion form is to make sure that we're aware of any convictions, cautions, reprimands or final warnings you've had which may not be disclosed on your DBS certificate. We ask you to disclose this information to ensure the absolute safety of our young people while they're on the programme.

Any declarations you make may not prevent you from being offered a role – we will assess each disclosure on a case-by-case basis.

9. Indicating your availability to work

9.1 I’m going on holiday during the one of the programmes. Will this affect my role?

The wave dates on your ‘Choosing when I can work’ page are all of the possible work placements you can ‘sign up’ for throughout the current NCS programme. You’ll need to be available for the entirety of any ‘waves’ or work placements you choose, but other than that you’re free to fit your work with us around your other commitments.

If we don’t have your full, up-to-date availability we might call you with last-minute and ad hoc work opportunities – if you know that you’re going to be busy over a period of time, it’s best to let us know on the ‘Dates when I can’t work’ page so that we don’t hassle you!

9.2 My availability has changed – what should I do?

If your availability has changed you need to let us know as soon as possible. If you’re set to work on the programme and you can no longer make it, you should call your staffing associate and let them know exactly why – please note that you will not be paid for any day’s work that you miss.

If you’re availability changes, but it does not affect your placements on the programme, just let us know on the ‘Dates when I cannot work’ page – we’ll use this information when we’re looking for candidates to take on back-up or ad-hoc work.

9.3 I’m not available for most of the summer – can you guarantee that I’ll work during the few weeks that I am free?

Unfortunately, as we are trying to allocate work placements to so many people we may not be able to guarantee you work if you have limited availability.

Your best bet is to let us know your availability as soon as possible, and ensure that you’ve done everything necessary for your application – including your DBS application (if relevant), and your ‘essential information’. You should also try to contact us regularly, and let us know if there are any changes to your availability.

9.4 I’d like to finish my shift a little early on the Friday in order to go to a planned event – will this be possible?

If you haven’t let us know in advance that you’re unavailable on this date, we’ll consider your request on a case-by-case basis.

In special circumstances, we’ll arrange for part of your shift to be covered – however, we cannot guarantee that you will be granted the time off.

9.5 I won’t know my availability until nearer the summer – when is the latest I can submit this information?

There isn’t an exact deadline for submitting this information, but the sooner you do the better. Once candidates start submitting their availability, we’ll get begin to allocate roles on a first-come-first-served basis.

If you’re not completely sure when you’ll be free in the summer, it’s best to try and get a vague idea and select ‘yes’ for any waves you think you’ll be free for; you’ll be able to change this information later when you have a better idea.

Please note that if you don’t submit your availability until later in the year, you may risk becoming a member of our back-up staff, and hence only be offered last-minute or ad-hoc work placements.

10. NCS Role Training

10.1 I am taking on a Leader/Mentor/Inclusion role for the first time this summer. What training do I need to attend?

If you’re taking on a Leader, Mentor or Inclusion staff (i.e. Support Workers, Personal Coaches and Learning & Behaviour Mentors) role for the first time this summer, you’ll need to attend 2 full days of role training.

The training covers an overview of the NCS programme, The Challenge’s safeguarding policy, workshops on behaviour management and motivation, and individual workshops by role.

You must attend both days of training – even if you worked last year in a different role.

When you’re booking onto training the days will be clearly outlined as ‘Day 1’ and ‘Day 2’ – please make sure you attend them in the right order!

10.2 I am a returning staff member doing a Leader/Mentor/Inclusion role again this summer. What training do I need to do?

If you’re a returning staff member doing the same role again (for at least the 2nd year in a row), you’ll only need to attend one full day of condensed returner training.

This training will cover an overview of the NCS programme, and changes to the programme this year, and then a choice of workshops based on role/interests:

  • Managing challenging behaviour
  • Inclusive facilitation
  • Working relationships
  • Leadership and Youth led

10.3 I am doing the Practitioner role for the first time this summer. What training is required for my role?

If you are taking on one of our Practitioner roles for the first time, you will need to attend both (1) one evening session introducing you to the NCS programme and (2) one full day of practitioner training (skill specific).

Please make sure you attend the evening session before the skill-specific full day!

If you’re going to be a Practitioner Plus role (facilitating more than one skill), you will need to attend skill-specific training for each of your skills – please call your staffing team directly to be booked onto your additional training.

10.4 I am a returning staff member doing the Practitioner role again. What training do I need to attend?

If you’re going to be a Practitioner for the 2nd or 3rd year in a row, you’ll only need to attend a condensed evening session for your role. This will cover updates to the NCS programme, and workshops sharing best practice in the practitioner roles.

If you’re going to be a Practitioner Plus role (facilitating more than one skill) for the first time this year, you will need to attend skill-specific training for each of your skills – please call your staffing team directly to be booked onto your additional training.

10.5 I’m going to be a Residential Mentor for the first time this year. What training do I need to attend?

If you’re taking on the Residential Mentor role for the first time this summer, you’ll need to attend both (1) one evening session (an overview of the NCS programme) and (2) one full day of Residential Mentor training. The full day of training will cover First Aid training and role-specific training.

Please make sure you attend the evening session before the role-specific full day!

10.6 I’m a returning staff member doing the Residential Mentor role again. What training do I need to do?

If you’re going to be a Residential Mentor for the 2nd or 3rd year in a row, you’ll only need to attend a condensed evening session for your role. This will cover updates to the NCS programme, and workshops sharing best practice on the programme.

10.7 First Aid training for Leaders and Residential Mentors – what do I need to do?

If you’re going to be a Programme Leader, Assistant Programme Leader or Residential Mentor this summer, you’ll be one of the First Aid representatives on the programme.

If you already have a First Aid certificate dated from 1 September 2013, please make a scanned or photographed copy and email it directly to your staffing coordinator to be checked.

If you don’t have up-to-date First Aid training, you will need to attend one of our tailor-made sessions. Please get in touch with your staffing coordinator as soon as possible to book onto a First Aid session.

10.8 Food Safety training for Residential Mentors – what do I need to do?

Residential Mentors are required to complete an online Food Safety Course before they start their role. This training is an important and compulsory part of the RM role, and is imperative to ensure the wellbeing of the young people whilst they’re sorting out their own meals during the NCS: Team Challenge part of the programme.

The Food Safety Course takes about 2-3 hours to complete, but you’re not expected to do the whole course in one go – you can ‘save’ and leave the form and come back to it at any time, as long as you complete the training before your role starts.

You’ll be emailed directly by a member of the staffing team with your login details for the course. If you haven’t received these details 2 weeks before your role begins, please call your staffing team as soon as possible.

10.9 I have special dietary requirements. Will you still provide lunch for me?

We will provide enough food for everyone attending training, and we will make sure we have vegetarian options – however, if you have any allergies or special requirements (e.g. you can only eat halal meat), we unfortunately cannot accommodate for these due to the number of training sessions we run.

If you have any special dietary requirements, please ensure that you bring a packed lunch to your training session(s).

10.10 What should I wear to training?

There is no set dress-code for our training sessions – however, as a lot of the workshops are fairly active and require group participation, we’d recommend you wear comfortable clothing and sensible shoes.

10.11 What documents do I need to bring to training?

If we haven’t already witnessed your ID and Right To Work documents at an assessment, you’ll need to bring these to your training session (if you’re attending more than one training day, please bring your documents to the first session).

Additionally, if you didn’t obtain your DBS certificate through us, we’ll need to witness your original existing certificate at training. Please note that we will take scans of all documents you present to us.

Other than these documents, you don’t need to bring anything else – however it might be an idea to bring a pen and notepad and some water (although lunch and other refreshments will be provided).

11. Payment, Advances and Expenses

11.1 When will I get paid for my role?

We pay our seasonal staff on a monthly basis, and aim to pay staff within 5 weeks of their completing a work placement. In order to ensure none of our staff have to wait longer than 5 weeks for payment, we have arranged ‘advance’ payments for all staff working on certain waves.

The table below lists all of the payment dates for each of the 12 summer waves.


Advance payment date

Payment date

(gross pay)





































If you feel that you have not been paid for one of your waves, you should contact your staffing team.

11.2 How do advances work?

To ensure that our staff don't wait more than 5 weeks for  their pay for each wave, we have arranged several 'advance' payments.

These payments are designed to 'tide you over' until the formal payment date for your wave, and consist of 70% of your gross pay for each day you worked in a particular wave. We will not arrange for you to have any additional or unplanned advance payments, nor will you receive payment ahead of completing your wave.

On the main payment date for your wave, you will receive the remaining 30% of your salary, minus the tax and NI deductions for the entire gross pay. This means that, depending on your tax code, you may receive very little or no pay on the main payment date.

If you feel that you have been over-taxed, you should contact HMRC directly. The Challenge cannot answer any queries regarding tax.

11.3 Why have I been sent a payslip reading £0.00?

On each payroll date, some seasonal staff will receive a payslip reading £0.00 (also known as a ‘zero payslip’).

This occurs if you have not worked on the relevant waves for the payroll month, but are still registered on our payroll as you may be working on future waves.

For example: If you are working wave 3 (paid in July), and later wave 6 (paid in September), you may receive a zero payslip on the August payment date.

If you receive one, you don’t need to do anything – unless you think a payment is missing. If you feel that you’re missing a payment, please get in touch with your local staffing team.

11.4 I think that I’ve been incorrectly taxed – what should I do?

Before the start of your role, you will have made a ‘tax declaration’ on the ‘Essential Information’ page on the staffing website. We use this declaration to generate a tax code for you, which in turn is used to deduct the correct tax from your gross pay. This system is effectively the same process as completing a P46 form.

If you feel that you’ve been taxed incorrectly, this could either be because;

  • You didn’t make a tax declaration, in which case you will have been put on the ‘0T’/emergency tax code (taxed at 20% on all that you earn)
  • HMRC have assessed your situation and sent us a tax code update (this could be for a number of reasons, for example you have previously underpaid tax)
  • You selected the wrong tax declaration for your current circumstances.

The Challenge cannot help with tax queries. If you think that you’re owed tax, you will need to contact HMRC directly to reclaim your tax and have your tax code corrected.

Call HMRC on 0845 3000 627 and quote the reference number 875 xa32808.

Please note that all individuals paid in the UK, including students, have to make this declaration and pay some degree of tax.

11.5 I am a student – why have I been taxed?

Students are no longer exempt from paying income tax – this has been the case for a few years now. The Challenge cannot help with tax queries, you will need to contact HMRC directly.

11.6 What expenses can I claim whilst on the programme?

Seasonal staff may claim back expenses incurred from travelling between programme venues (e.g. residential accommodation to outdoor activity venue, and back).

We will not reimburse costs for travel to- and from- the programme (to your home), as this is not covered in our policy. You can find our expenses policy in your role guide and under ‘My Role’ on the staffing website

11.7 How do I submit expense claims?

For every ‘wave’ or work placement you do over the summer, you will receive a separate expense form link (in an email titled: ‘Claiming your expenses – NCS expense form for [wave]’).

You must make sure you’re using the correct expense form for the wave you’re claiming expenses for – e.g. if you’re working on ‘Enfield B Su 1’, you should use the expense form in the email titled ‘Claiming your expenses – NCS expenses form for Enfield B Su 1’.

You’ll be asked to upload a scanned or photographed copy of your tickets or receipts as proof of expense – these image files should be numbered (in the file name) to correspond with the ‘item number’ for each claim. Please also email the copies of the tickets/receipts to [email protected].

Make sure you keep the original tickets and receipts until your expense claims have been processed. We’ll email you to let you know which of your claims have been approved or rejected (claims will be rejected if they do not fall in line with our expenses policy or if they have been submitted for the wrong wave).

You can submit a maximum of 5 items each time you use the expense form, but you can use the form as many times as you need to (as long as your claims correspond with the wave)

11.8 When will my expenses be paid?

We reimburse expenses twice a month; in the middle and at the end. In order to avoid confusion and delays in your repayment, we would encourage you to submit your expense form for each wave at the end of your each week.

We’ll email you to let you know whether or not your expense claims have been approved, and when you can expect your repayment.

Our expense payment dates are:

1) 15 July 2016
2) 29 July 2016
3) 12 Aug 2016
4) 26 Aug 2016
5) 9 Sept 2016
6)23 Sept 2016
7) 7 Oct 2016
8) 21 Oct 2016
9) 4 Nov 2016
10) 18 Nov 2016
11) 2 Dec 2016
12) 16 Dec 2016

As summers at The Challenge are always extremely busy, there can sometimes be a delay in processing expense claims – this may mean that your expenses are not always reimbursed on the closed expense date. Please refer to your expense notification email for the predicted payment date for your claims.

11.9 What do I need to know about Workplace Pension auto-enrollment?

Due to new auto-enrolment legislation, employees of The Challenge, including seasonal staff, will be enrolled in a workplace pension scheme. This is a way of saving for your retirement that's arranged by your employer. For further information about the workplace pension scheme, please go to

What does auto-enrolment mean?

Auto-enrolment means that if you fulfil certain criteria for a pension you will automatically be deducted a payment for pension from your salary (criteria below). If you do not want to be in the pension scheme then you can choose to opt out. However, you can only do so once you have been auto-enrolled and the first pension deduction has been made.  Auto enrolment does not take place until the fourth pay period (or greater) so there is at least a period of three months between your first salary payment and first pension deduction (subject to criteria stated below).

What are the criteria for auto-enrolment?

Not all staff will be automatically enrolled. You must fit all the criteria which are explained below.

  • Aged between 22 and state pension age
  • Included in at least two pay periods (paid in two separate monthly payrolls) over a four month period
  • Within these two pay periods earn more than £833 in each payroll month

Example 1

Payroll Month

Were you paid?

Pay Period












4 –  a pension payment is deducted if you also fit the other criteria

Example 2

Payroll Month

Were you paid?

Pay Period















5 – a pension payment is deducted if you also fit the other criteria

Pension deduction does not actually take place until a minimum of three months after your first payroll.

What happens next?

If you fit the criteria above we will email you 5 days prior to the payroll date when pension deductions take place. We will provide all the necessary information you need to opt-out. You will then be able to opt-out of any following pension deductions. If you opt-out within one month of the pension deduction then you will be refunded the value of the contribution within 1-2 months; this is all dependent on how quickly Peoples Pension processes your information.
Pension deductions amount to very little and will be no more than 1% of your qualifying earning for that month. Qualifying earnings are everything you earn after £486.00 per month.

How do I opt-out?

You will need an opt-out form from The People's Pension. You can obtain a form by emailing [email protected]. You can return your completed form to the same email address.
Staff will have a one month opt-out period: i.e. you can opt out one month from the date of enrolment. After this 1 month period you cannot claim your money from that month back but you can still opt out for future months.

What other information do I need to know?

We will be processing P45s from October 2016. Once you have been sent a P45 your employment with us has ended. If you are then re-employed with us after this has happened pensions deductions are reset and you will then enter into a pay period 1 again.

11.10 When will I receive my P45 form?

Our payroll partners will begin processes P45 forms for all of our seasonal staff from 9th September 2016. Due to the large number of seasonal staff, we estimate that it could take up to three weeks from this date to receive your P45 form.

12 NCS Autumn 2016

12.1 When does the Autumn programme take place?

The NCS Autumn programme takes place throughout October and November. We have a few waves running over different dates – to see which waves are running in your location head to the ‘Choosing when I can work’ page.

12.2 Which roles work on the Autumn programme?

We will be recruiting the following roles to work this season:

Programme Leader
Assistant Programme Leader
Practitioner – Drama
Practitioner – Photography
Practitioner – Media (film-making)
Practitioner – Enterprise
Practitioner – Music
Practitioner – Art
Senior Mentor
Support Worker
Personal Coach

Please note that as the Autumn programme is much shorter, the number of each roles is limited. We recommend you apply early for the best chance of being placed!

12.3 My summer role isn’t being used for Autumn. What can I do?

We won’t be using the Residential Mentor, Learning & Behaviour Mentor, Delivery Assistant Programme Manager or Programme Administrator roles for the autumn programme.

If you have worked with us this summer in one of these roles, you can contact your Staffing Associate and discuss any other roles you might be appropriate for.

12.4 How is the Autumn programme different from the Summer programme?

The Autumn programme is a compressed version of the Summer programme. While it has the same breakdown of ‘phases’ (e.g. NCS: Personal Challenge, NCS: Team Challenge & NCS: Real Challenge), each phase is shorter so that the NCS: PC and NCS: TC phases fit together into a single week. Young people will then plan and carry out their ‘social action projects’ over November weekends – 2015 staff may remember this format from previous summers!

The Autumn programme is only residential over the first phase – NCS: Personal Challenge. The remainder of the programme will be non-residential and carried out in your local community.

12.5 I applied for the Summer programme this year; do I need to do another application?

No, you won’t need to apply again – however, you will need to make sure you’ve selected ‘Autumn’ as a season you can work in on your ‘My Profile’ page. If you don’t do this we won’t know to contact you when recruitment begins!

Once you’ve selected ‘autumn’ you will be able to indicate your availability on the ‘Choosing when I can work’ and ‘Dates when I can’t work’ pages on the Staffing Portal.

12.6 When are assessments for the Autumn programme taking place?

We will be assessing new applicants for our seasonal roles from late august to mid September. If you are invited to an assessment, you will be given a list of potential assessment dates to choose from.

Please note that we will only have a limited number of assessments available for the autumn programme and we will not be able to guarantee alternative dates.

12.7 I’ve just worked on the Summer programme; are my health details and DBS certificates still valid?

If your DBS certificate was approved for the 2016 NCS summer programme, it will still be valid for the Autumn programme, as the requirements have not changed for this season.

Providing your health, safeguarding and inclusion details have not changed, you will not need to re-submit these. However, we will ask you to login to your Staffing Portal and check this information is still up-to-date.

12.8 When will I be paid for my Autumn role?

Exact payment dates for the Autumn programme yet to be confirmed, however, depending on which wave you work you can expect to be paid between November and December. For more information please contact your local staffing team.