Press release

PM to launch National Citizen Service pilots for young people

Prime Minister David Cameron will today announce plans for 16 year olds to take part in National Citizen Service (NCS) pilots.

Prime Minister David Cameron will today announce plans for 16 year olds to take part in National Citizen Service (NCS) pilots next summer.

Government-backed pilots for the scheme will start next summer and will provide around 10,000 places. Aimed at school leavers aged 16, the pilots will take place from June to September, following the end of the exam period, and will last for 7 to 8 weeks.

NCS aims to give every 16 year old the chance to learn new skills that will help them to make a positive contribution to their community.

The PM said:

There is a tragic waste of potential in this country today. The young people of this country are as passionate and idealistic as any generation before - perhaps more passionate. But too many teenagers appear lost and feel their lives lack shape and direction.

National Citizen Service will help change that. A kind of non-military national service, it’s going to mix young people from different backgrounds in a way that doesn’t happen right now. It’s going to teach them what it means to be socially responsible. Above all it’s going to inspire a generation of young people to appreciate what they can achieve and how they can be part of the Big Society.

Activities are expected to include an outdoor challenge, a set of structured tasks involving visiting and helping the local community and developing skills and, in consultation with local communities, designing a social action task.

NCS is a key part of the Big Society agenda, as set out by the PM in Liverpool on Monday, and will involve a programme of activities designed to introduce young people to the concept of civic responsibility as they make the transition into adulthood.

The pilots will bring people from different backgrounds together in a residential and home-based programme of activity.

Participants will spend a minimum of 10 days and nights away from home, to give them the opportunity to develop life skills and resilience and to serve their community.

The government hopes to be able to offer outstanding NCS graduates the opportunity to take part in a programme of social action projects in developing countries.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said:

We know that across the country many young people are ready to stand up and make a difference to their local community. We see NCS as key to building a Big Society, to increasing engagement, cohesion and responsibility for young people across the country.

This programme will allow a whole generation of young people to make a difference in their local area and play an active role in making society a better place.

National Citizen Service will:

  • build cohesion and a better understanding of others - all young people participating in the scheme will be offered a common experience, wherever they live, whatever their background and the opportunity to mix with young people from difference backgrounds
  • encourage team work - there will be a residential element of the programme in which young people will work together, undertaking activities that stretch them and bond them together as a team
  • challenge young people - they will work together to create social action projects that contribute to the local community and help them to experience the impact that they can make in their areas
  • celebrate success - the scheme will end in a graduation ceremony for those who successfully complete it

Notes to editors

  1. To mark the announcement the PM and the Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude will meet today with voluntary sector workers and young people who have completed similar programmes. Pooled pictures are available.
  2. The Cabinet Office will work with partners from the youth sector on the details of National Citizen Service, starting with pilots next summer, before the programme is rolled out more widely.
  3. The government will publish a detailed specification for the pilots, inviting potential providers to submit bids, at the beginning of August 2010.  Successful candidates will be announced in late October, at the latest.  As with all government programmes, the scale of the pilots will be subject to the Spending Review.
  4. Find out more about the National Citizen Service.

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