From education to employment

Young people benefit from summer skills programme


Young people across the north of England have been enjoying taking part in a summer programme which builds their confidence and sees them give back to their communities.

More than 35,000 young people from across Lancashire, Cumbria and the North-East have benefited from the government-backed National Citizen Service (NCS) with Inspira since it was set up more than a decade ago.

This summer young people aged 16 and 17 across the region have been taking part in the scheme.

Run by Cumbria-based charity and leading employability skills experts Inspira, the programme is proving particularly important to young people in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

Luke Brookfield, Inspira’s NCS contract manager, said:

“The impact on those young people who take part in the National Citizen Service and learn so many life skills is really positive.

“At the start of the two weeks 90 per cent don’t know anyone else on the programme. There is a lot of anxiety and nervousness on the first day.

“Very early on they start forming solid bonds and by the end of the fortnight they are a really tight-knit group who often remain friends once they leave the programme.

“It’s about meeting people from all different backgrounds about mixing socially – something which they have shared is especially important for them because of the pandemic.

“We work with them on their soft skills like teamwork, leadership, communication, and how to present themselves, which all helps build their confidence.”

Participants spend the first week at a residential centre in either Keswick, Grange-over-Sands, or Hexham, and the second week creating and delivering a social project to benefit their communities.

Luke said:

“In the residential week they have two days of outdoor education, taking part in challenging activities, such as canoeing, high ropes, abseiling and an expedition walk.

“The rest of the week they link with local businesses who set them a challenge and they pitch their idea back to the business.

“We then look ahead to the following week and discuss what project they think would be the most relevant and most beneficial for their communities.

“They deliver some amazing initiatives in their communities to help improve people’s lives which is really inspiring when you think how they only came together two weeks earlier.

“It’s a wonderful programme to be involved in and it reminds you how amazing our young people are.”

In total Inspira has been running 27 programmes this summer using residential centres serving 15 different local authority areas in Cumbria,  Lancashire, Newcastle and Hexham.

Related Articles