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National Citizen Service benefits participants and society

A research report by NatCen Social Research into the National Citizen Service (NCS) has revealed that the programme has a significant impact on the skills that young people need to get ahead in work and life: teamwork, communication and leadership.

NCS is a 3 week full time programme open to all 16-and 17-year olds across England, plus 30 hours committed to a community project, focused on fun and discovery, that benefits both young people and society. Participants build skills for work and life, while taking on new challenges and adventures, learning new skills, making new friends and contributing to their community.  NCS is now recognised by UCAS and taking part is a sought-after addition to a young person's CV.  

In 2012, there were 26,003 participants in NCS.  The findings of the research show:

  • an 18% uplift in the number of young people who said that they felt confident about leading a team thanks to NCS. This is compared with only a 1% increase in the group of young people questioned as part of the study who had not taken part in NCS.
  • 86% stated that following the programme they felt comfortable with teamwork, and 79% that they were confident in meeting new people. 
  • 95% believed that they had a chance to know people they wouldn’t mix with, and this was shown to be instrumental in increasing confidence in relation to teamwork and communication.
  • The programme is helping young people to express their ideas more clearly and put forward their creative suggestions, with over 7/10 stating they now felt better about doing this, compared with over 5/10 at the start of the programme.

The new research also includes longitudinal analysis of 2011 participants, which shows that participants’ perceptions of the impact of NCS one year after the start of the programme were very positive. 9/10 agreed that NCS had “given them a better understanding of what life is like for people who are different to me”, with a similar proportion agreeing they had developed skills that “have been useful for me in my study, work or training”.

The monetary benefits to society are estimated to be up to 2.8 times the cost of delivering NCS, an improvement cost-benefit ratio of the 2011 programme.

88% of summer participants and 86% of autumn participants said they would definitely recommend NCS to a friend. The summer programme improved communication, teamwork and leadership and had a positive impact on young people's willingness to help out in the community.  An autumn programme was also piloted and appears to produce a similar participant experience as the summer programme, suggesting that it is worth extending and refining in future years.

Click here to read the report.

1 August 2013


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