Here at Inspira we like to keep in contact with our National Citizen Service Grads. Joe completed NCS with us in 2013 in Carlisle, we've tracked him down to the NCS Trust offices in London, where he now works as the Extension Advocate Coordinator. We asked our NCS National Youth Board members to submit questions to Joe about his incredible journey as an NCS grad and here's what he had to say...

What was your social action project?

For our social action project we wanted to raise money for 2 charities, and make a world record attempt. The charities we wanted to support where a National Charity, Make a Wish Foundation and a local charity, Mencap Carlisle. We started by doing some fundraising, including myself dressed as a hula girl in the centre of Carlisle asking for donations, using that money and exchanging it for thousands of 2p coins and set off on our world record attempt - We did not make it, unfortunately, but the thought was what counted.

Why did you stay involved with NCS?

After completing the Summer programme I found myself interested in NCS and what it was doing, I was asked to speak at my Graduation and was then nominated to attend an NCS Leaders to represent my region as 1 of 100 Leaders from across the country, all congregating in Swindon for a week of leadership training. This was the furthest I had ever travelled alone, and when I was waiting for the train to arrive I was looking the wrong way down the platform as it pulled into the station; My parents got a little worried after that! Since then, I could always see where continuing to engage with NCS would be useful to me in the future, for career and university applications - And I had a barrel of laughs along the way, which is very important! 

What inspired you during your time as a Grad?

I guess my inspiration and motivation to keep going was because of two things. Firstly, I always wanted to stand out and I found that not many people could truthfully say that they are engaged in a national movement, had really good friends from outside of their local area and had done the plethora of things that NCS offers. I took great pride in these things and in my future. Secondly, it was fun! It's as simple as that, there were elements that would be a little bit boring and parts that I didn't see the point in doing at the time, but having been through them I appreciate every experience I've had along the way. All of them large and small, was something to talk about and learn from.

What has been your most memorable moment working for NCS Trust?

My 3 and a half years at NCS Trust in London have been full of wacky and wonderful experiences. From running residential programmes, and working with our National Youth Board, to managing meetings with a network of delivery partners and meeting current and former Prime Ministers (Theresa May and David Cameron, just in case this Brexit stuff takes a turn!). It's really hard to choose one, and I could easily say some of the strategy work that isn't very exciting to talk about but is great for my career is the most memorable, but the one that tops it all off for me would have to be the Passchendaele 100 programme, where we took 100 Grads from across the country out to Ypres, Belgium to be a part of the centenary events commemorating the battle of Passchendaele.

Over the years, what has been your favourite piece of NCS merch and why?

I think a lot of the merch is pretty cool, each with a memory attached to it. My favourite would have to be the Youth Board jumpers though, they're exclusive for our Youth Board members and the jumpers are pretty cool.

What 3 pieces of advice would you give to any new Grad?

  1. Get involved where you can
  2. Don't be overwhelmed by the opportunities, not everyone can do everything, so find the thing you want to do!
  3. Have fun!

Your journey doesn't have to stop when you become an NCS Grad, in fact it's only just beginning. This is the start of a journey, that offers some incredible opportunities. You can stay involved in so many ways, from local youth boards and creating new and exciting social actions projects, to being part of the national youth board and representing our region on a national level. 

Why not check out the Opportunity Hub, an online portal with thousands of voluntary positions, from internships both paid and unpaid to work experience opportunities. Simply answer 5 questions and the hub does all the work for you, checking out which opportunities are most suited to you by preferences and location. Why not have a look here

If you're looking for any more information on how to stay involved with NCS or potential employment opportunities once you turn 19, please contact Nicola Hullock on her email [email protected]