The expression "curriculum vitae" is Latin for course of life. The difficulty facing many school leavers is that the course of their lives hasn't been very long and the CVs they produce can be decidedly thin. Part time work for 15 and 16 year olds is harder to get than it was in the past and whilst some schools offer a work experience week to pupils not all do.

At a recent Britain’s Energy Coast (BECBC) Social Value meeting, attended by employers such Balfour Beattie, Morgan Sindall, Kaefer and Wood to name but a few, there was some discussion about employers having shifted to competency based recruitment methods where they look for evidence of skills gained in work, school or through extracurricular activities. Some pupils take part in team-based out of school activities such as sport, drama or the Army cadets, but many don't.  

The employers attending the meeting were in agreement that the National Citizen Service (NCS), a summer activity programme for year 11 and year 12 leavers is a great way to help young people develop the skills they need for success in the work-place such as: problem solving, communication, team work, resilience and confidence. 

In Cumbria, over a thousand young people will start NCS this summer. They will follow a four or three week programme which involves an Adventure phase, a 4 night residential at an Outdoor Centre where there is the chance to try canoeing, rock climbing and walking; this is followed by the Discovery phase, anther residential, but this time the focus is on developing independent living skills such as budgeting and cooking; there is also the opportunity in this phase to meet local business leaders and find out more about the community they belong to. The third phase of NCS involves working on a community-based project that addresses an issue participants feel passionately about. The final phase is a huge celebration event where all the NCSers and their families come together to celebrate challenges overcome and achievements made.

The cost of the programme is just £50 and that includes accommodation, food and transport; there are bursaries available for families who need it. It’s a great way of making new friends and developing the essential skills needed for adult life. We still have a few places left so if you come across anyone who might be interested, please send them our way, we would live to take them on their NCS journey.