Chance to take part in flagship programme

Back Row: Georgia Wood (16), Beth Booth (15), Becky Harman (16), Tabitha Smith (16) and Jade Silver (16). Front row: Megan Barnett (15), team leaders for the National Citizen Service Mark Cluett and Jacky Burden, and Jamie Curtis (16)
Back Row: Georgia Wood (16), Beth Booth (15), Becky Harman (16), Tabitha Smith (16) and Jade Silver (16). Front row: Megan Barnett (15), team leaders for the National Citizen Service Mark Cluett and Jacky Burden, and Jamie Curtis (16)

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A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to boost job prospects and make a contribution to the community is open to students across the Portsmouth area.

Forty school-leavers and first year college students have already signed up to this summer’s National Citizen Service – a flagship initiative supporting the government’s vision for building the Big Society.

The three-week programme, which is being run by the Portsmouth and south east Hampshire Education Business Partnership (EBP), kicks off with a week of sailing and boat-related activities on the Isle of Wight to develop team-building, leadership and communication skills.

Year 11 and 12 students will then spend a week back in their local communities, finding out what people need and how they can volunteer.

In their third week they will put their research into practice by carrying out activities and fundraisers.

So far 40 young people from 16 schools, including Portchester Community, Bridgemary, Bay House, Henry Cort Community and Horndean Technology College, are on board – but there are 116 places left to fill.

Tabitha Smith, 16, who attends Cowplain School, is taking her A-levels at Lancing College and hopes to win a place at a top university to study law, business or politics.

She says: ‘This is an excellent opportunity and I can’t wait to get started. I’m doing it because I know it will look good on my CV and because I want to make a positive impact on my community.

‘I’ve already encouraged a friend to join. It would be great to see lots of students from our area get involved and show our communities we really do care.’

This year’s scheme launches on July 30 and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Suzanne Lewis, project co-ordinator, says: ‘Young people in this area have so much to give and many of them will help inspire adults.

‘This is an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for 156 students to do something completely different that will not only stand out on their CVs, but will also give them a real insight into their communities and how they can help.

‘They will meet new people, make new friends, learn fundamental skills like team work, good communication and leadership and make an invaluable contribution to other people’s lives.’

n To sign up or find out more visit portsmouthebp.co.uk