This lunchtime I was at the University of Manchester’s Student Union participating in a National Citizen Service (NCS) summer programme for 15 to 16 year olds provided by The Challenge charity.
I have always been a strong advocate of youth development programmes and was pleased when the coalition government decided to introduce the NCS. The NCS is a great opportunity for young people to gain transferable skills, form new friendships and make a real difference to their local communities. The Challenge are the largest provider of the NCS and their summer programmes are excellent. Their programmes take young people on a journey of inspiration, responsibility, trust, understanding and pride. All of which I witnessed today at the University of Manchester’s Student Union.
This afternoon I participated in stage three of The Challenges programme ‘The Real Challenge’ where I played the role of a ‘dragon’. This involved being a panelist alongside other dragons while teams of young people presented a ‘Dragon’s Den style pitch to me of a campaign they would like to carry out. The role I played as a dragon was to give constructive feedback to the teams and award money to teams to carry out their campaign.
I thoroughly enjoyed my role as a dragon and the experience demonstrated to me the positive role young people can contribute to local communities as well as developing their own skills.