National Citizen Service (NCS) has today awarded Gold Partner College status to New College Durham thanks to its great commitment to working alongside NCS, including delivering the programme as part their term-time curriculum.

The royal chartered NCS programme supports young people’s transition to adulthood by developing their strength of character and life-skills which enables them to contribute to society with a greater sense of purpose, optimism and belonging.

Open to all young people aged 16-17 across England and Northern Ireland, the two to four week programme includes outdoor team-building exercises, a residential for participants to learn ‘life skills’, a community-based social action project and an end of programme celebration event.
Since 2017, New College Durham have worked with NCS to deliver a model of the programme that compliments existing course curriculums and sees students build additional skills, meet new people and give back to the local community.

New College Durham are one of just two North East colleges to be awarded NCS Partner College status – and the only regional college to be granted the Gold tier. At a celebration event, the College were gifted the award and a certificate signed by the Prime Minister that marks the achievement.

The College have also been reappointed as the North East’s NCS ambassador college.

John Widdowson CBE, Principal and Chief Executive at New College Durham, said: “After we took part in a pilot of term-time NCS for our students in 2017, we were eager to continue the relationship when seeing the benefits NCS had brought. The College provides skills and qualifications for work and NCS helps our students add the skills they need for ‘life’. NCS forms a vital part of what we do as a College so I’m incredibly proud to be awarded NCS Gold Partner status and continue our role as an NCS ambassador college.”

Denise Halpern, Head of Operations for the vEducation and National Youth Agency Partnership that delivers NCS in the North East, said:

“I am absolutely delighted that New College Durham have been awarded Gold Partner College status by the NCS Trust. The College is one of the first in the country to achieve this accolade and this is down to the fantastic commitment and forward-thinking of their Senior Leadership Team and staff who have worked hard to embed the NCS ethos into courses, and the inspirational students who have embraced NCS in order to boost their skills and create symbolic social action in the local community.”

As well as taking on exciting outward bound activities in the Lake District or Northumberland and developing new life skills on campus with NCS local delivery partner University of the First Age (UFA), students, in teams of 15, designed and delivered social action projects. These included projects focussing around youth homelessness, downs syndrome awareness and mental health.

Annabelle Steel, 16, NCS graduate and student at New College Durham, said: “NCS has helped me in various ways, mainly with my confidence. Before NCS I would have never stood up in front of people and spoken, but now I am ready to challenge myself. NCS has also helped me to understand different employers and charities and how I can get involved in the community. I am so pleased I took the opportunity to meet other people and make new friends.”

NCS is making a positive contribution towards developing our country’s future talent and is proven to increase confidence, communication and leadership abilities. University participation rates for those who take part in NCS was on average 12% higher than those who didn’t take part.

Izzi Dorrian, Head of Education engagement at the NCS Trust, comments: “Through working closely with colleges across the UK, we are able to ensure more young people have the opportunity to be aware of the amazing benefits which come with participating in the programme. This collaboration is helping us to ensure the programme is embedded in local communities and reminds us exactly how the programme is helping change the futures of thousands of young people each year.”

Young people currently in Year 11 and 12 can sign up to participate in NCS next summer at www.ncsyes.co.uk or by calling 0191 247 4020.