SIX IDEAS TO GET YOU STARTED
You’ve just finished National Citizen Service (NCS), where you had a tonne of fun and gained loads of useful new skills. But what happens next? Good question! Plotr suggests six brilliant things you could do now…
Apply for a job
Ready to start earning some money – but not sure where to start? By all means ask your local job centre to suggest vacancies you might be right for, but don’t leave your job hunt there. Put in some extra online sleuthing and you’ll find loads more ‘hidden’ opportunities out there. For starters, type your postcode into Plotr’s Work Experience Finder to see what positions are up for grabs near you, from internships to apprenticeships, graduate programmes and early career jobs. If nothing tickles your fancy, tick ‘Save this search’ and we’ll email you when something comes up that we think you’ll love. You can also keep trying other job websites, like Monster and Go Think Big.
One final tip: when applying for jobs, don’t forget to add the NCS to your application and CV. As James Reed, managing director of recruitment specialists Reed, explains:
"NCS is beginning to produce a generation of independent, responsible and employable young people. Not only does this project equip young people with a useful skill set, but it also inspires in them a desirable mindset, including honesty, commitment and trustworthiness."
If you get an interview, remember to draw on NCS for examples of times when you demonstrated a certain skill or handled a particular situation well. Employers will love it, we promise!
What are apprenticeships? They're an earn-while-you-learn blend of jobs and training. Here are 10 things everyone gets wrong about apprenticeships. How do they work? You’ll spend part of your week working in a company, and the rest in college – all while being paid a wage. You can even get the new degree apprenticeships which let you study for a degree without paying any student fees while you work. Interested? Explore apprenticeships available in your area with the Plotr Jobs and Work Experience Finder. You’ll find the National Apprenticeships Service extremely useful, too.
TIP: Apprentices working in London are also eligible for a 30% discount on their travel, so make sure you sign up for your Apprentice Oyster photocard.
Umming and erring about uni? Whether to go, what degree to do and where to study are big questions – so think carefully before you make a decision. Having a uni education can be brilliant – but before you sign up make sure the degree you’ve chosen is one that employers really value. (There are a lot of courses out there – and a lot of universities keen to take your money!) If you decide to apply, don’t forget to put NCS clearly on your application. As Professor Tanya Byron says:
“NCS is recognised by UCAS [the official uni application system], so if kids want to go on to further and higher education, they can put that they have a National Citizen Service certificate on their UCAS form and that will be very enhancing in terms of their ability to get into further or higher education.”
For more information and inspiration, take a look at the University and Graduate advice on Plotr.
NCS has a strong focus on social action, community work and volunteering – and most of the 50,000 participants enjoy this aspect of the programme far more than they expect to! If you loved it too, don’t stop now – get even more stuck in. Employers and universities love to see applicants who have done extra volunteering work, as it builds your teamwork, leadership and communication soft skills.
As politician Nick Hurd says:
“Creating and delivering social action projects is challenging and inspiring. Not only does it enable community engagement but in addition participants gain valuable experiences and life skills to help them in the future.”
See? Read up on these 6 reasons to get volunteering, and check out our partner vInspired to find out more about volunteering opportunities with other young people near you.
TIP! If you’re staying at school or college, or going to university, you can still volunteer in the evenings and at weekends. It can be a great way to find your feet if you have just started uni, too.
Set up your own business
This isn’t an easy option – but it isn’t as tricky as you might think, either. There are lots of organisations dedicated to helping young entrepreneurs get started. If you have a genius business idea, check out the Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme which helps people aged 18-30 to get their business up and running. They offer expert business mentoring support – and sometimes they’ll even give you money to get your company started too. Find out more about how to become an entrepreneur with the Plotr guide.
Get some work experience
Now you’ve got some great skills, why not test them out in an actual workplace? Work experience gives you the chance to see what it’s like to work in a real company. For more information, ask your teachers about work experience or contact the National Council for Work Experience. ISS is an example of an employer that offers taster weeks and work experience placements too.
Keep saying Yes!
The theme of NCS is saying ‘Yes’ to life - so don’t forget that simple message just because the programme is over! Always keep an eye out for opportunities around you to get involved, learn new things and collect new skills and experiences. Whatever you end up doing, these will always be useful in the future. As Piers Aggett of the band Rudimental said:
“Our lives are formed by the opportunities that are presented to us. Daring to say yes can make all the difference. We want to show young people that there are choices and opportunities to be had – a simple yes is sometimes all it takes.”