Newcastle College has become one of just two North East colleges to be awarded Partner College status by National Citizen Service (NCS). The Bronze Partner College award was given to the College for its commitment to working alongside NCS and delivering its programme as part of its curriculum.
The NCS programme supports young people’s transition to adulthood by developing their strength of character and life-skills which enable them to contribute to society with a greater sense of purpose, optimism and belonging. Open to all young people aged 16-17 across England and Northern Ireland, the programme includes outdoor team-building exercises, a residential for participants to learn ‘life skills’, a community-based social action project and an end of programme celebration event.
Newcastle College works with NCS to deliver specialised models of the programme that complement existing course curriculums and sees students build additional skills, meet new people and give back to the local community.
In autumn 2018, students took part in a bespoke version of NCS which saw them take on exciting outward bound activities in the Scottish borders, develop new life skills on campus with NCS local delivery partner Newcastle United Foundation, and design and deliver social action projects. The projects included raising money for a local amputee football team, raising awareness of mental health and bridging generational gaps at local care homes.
Newcastle College student and NCS graduate Lucy Ames, 16 from Gateshead, said:
“Other commitments meant that I couldn’t take part in NCS in the summer after year 11, so it was perfect that I could do it with College. It was the best experience – I feel more confident and I made new friends.
“For our social action project my team created a video highlighting mental health, which we could all relate to and is an important issue for young people. After completing NCS I felt a real sense of achievement.”
Classmate and fellow NCS graduate Jacob Goulding, 17 from Wallsend, added:
“From the moment we all started to work together to complete challenges during the outdoor adventure phase of NCS, we became a team. I’ve been able to develop my communication, teamwork and leadership skills which are useful for my college course and future career.
"As an NCS graduate I get sent regular information about staying involved and so far I’ve continued volunteering with Newcastle United Foundation.”
Lisa Hamilton-Murray, Assistant Principal at Newcastle College received the award on behalf of the College and said:
“Newcastle College has been a fond supporter of NCS since the programme launched. New students who arrive at the College having completed NCS in the summer holidays prior are confident, motivated and well-connected with other learners.
"The experience and wellbeing of our students is so important to us and we’ve now added NCS into the curriculum of some of our courses to offer those benefits to more of our students. I’m incredibly proud to be awarded Bronze NCS Partner College status and look forward to seeing even more of our students taking part.”
Denise Halpern, Head of Operations for the vEducation and National Youth Agency Partnership that delivers NCS in the North East, said:
"Newcastle College is one of only two colleges in the North East to receive NCS Partner status – and I’m delighted for them as they’ve really embraced the ethos of the programme and have this year grown their commitment to NCS by expanding the number of curriculum areas where NCS is offered to their students. We get fantastic feedback from students about the NCS programme and how they’ve been able to learn new skills, which complement their college study, and give back to the local community.”
NCS is making a positive contribution towards developing our country’s future talent and is proven to increase confidence, communication and leadership abilities. University participation rates for those who take part in NCS was on average 12% higher than those who didn't take part.
Young people currently in Year 11 and 12 can sign up to participate in NCS next summer, by calling 0191 247 4020.