Why NCS is right for your school or college

What is ncs?
National Citizen Service (NCS) is a once–in-a-lifetime part-residential experience open to all 15 to 17 year olds across England and Northern Ireland. The programme helps young people build skills for work and life while taking on exciting challenges, making new friends and contributing to their community.

NCS runs outside of term time and is delivered by a network of quality assured youth and community organisations. There are no cost implications for a school or college to support the programme and government backing ensures participants pay a maximum of £50 for a place. Bursaries are available for those unable to meet the cost and support is provided for students with additional needs.

Why should your school or college get involved?



The first week is spent at an outdoor activity centre participating in team building activities such as abseiling, water rafting and canoeing.

In the second week participants live away from home, typically at local university halls of residence, learning how to be self-sufficient, developing new skills and finding out more about the needs of their local community. Based back at home, participants then continue to work in their teams to give something back to their community through the development and delivery of a social action project. To date NCS participants have completed more than 1.5 million hours of social action, and involvement in the local community often continues after graduation. Government backing means that there is no cost to schools or colleges to get their students involved in NCS. Each participants pays no more than £50 each and bursaries are available on a case by case basis. Support is provided for young people with additional needs.

Don’t just take our word for it

We asked our 130,000+ grads how they benefitted from NCS. Here’s what they said:

It’s important that we nurture and develop the potential in the younger generation, and programmes like NCS are a good way to develop confidence and leadership skills, to encourage a new generation of business and community leaders

  • Richard Branson

Why do ncs?

NCS helps teach the skills employers say they are increasingly looking for in candidates: confidence, team-work, problem-solving and leadership skills.

NCS is recognised by UCAS and helps young people frame their skills and experiences for interviews and university applications.

NCS complements other youth and volunteering programmes that your school or college may be running and offers something different as well because participants work in mixed teams with young people from different backgrounds.

“Applying for apprenticeships and trying to get into the world of work with the skills that they’ve learnt, have enabled them to be much more independent, to be able to plan projects”

  • Heather McIlroy: Executive Head Teacher, The Mountbatten School

How do I get my students involved?

Whether you work in a school, college, pupil referral unit or alternative education setting, you can play a big role in directing your students to NCS.

Over 5,000 schools and colleges across the country have already invited their local NCS provider to meet their Year 11 and Year 12 students. We work with you to deliver what is best to reach the students in your setting and we will answer any questions that your students and their parents/guardians may have. We can deliver presentations in assemblies and tutor groups and can also come to parents evenings, careers sessions and set up lunch time stalls.

From there, your students can sign-up to NCS and their payments will be processed by us. We will also supports your students in the weeks leading up to their programme so they can come as prepared as possible to the first week of activities.

“I think NCS is exactly the sort of thing that will help an individual mark him or herself out from the crowd. It is so much responsibility that is given to those young people and that’s exactly the distinguishing point that universities and colleges are looking for. ”

  • Dr Joe Spence: The Master, Dulwich College