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How can NCS help your teen?

My son Josh really enjoyed taking part in the National Citizen Service course, so when we were approached to help reach other parents about NCS, we were really keen to be involved.

So what is National Citizen Service?

“NCS is a government backed programme established in 2011 to help build a more cohesive, mobile and engaged society. By bringing together young people from different backgrounds for a unique shared experience, NCS helps them to become better individuals, and in turn better citizens.”

NCS is open to 16 and 17 year-olds across England and Northern Ireland. The two to four week programme, which takes place in school holidays, 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.
My eldest son Josh was invited to take part via a presentation at his school, back in 2016. He came home really keen to take part so we signed him up asap. He finished the term early that year, as he had just finished his GCSE exams so it was a good time for him to sign up. NCS is amazing value for money. The whole experience including food, accommodation and travel costs £50 and bursaries are available on a case by case basis. Support is also provided for young people with additional needs.

As a family we often take holidays together and visit family both in the UK and abroad. We wondered how three weeks of NCS would fit into this. Thankfully there was a big choice of dates so we could choose one that worked for us.
Though NCS he would meet, and work with others from different backgrounds and cultures which as a diverse, multilingual family ourselves we hold as very important.

So over to Josh to describe his experience of NCS.
I really enjoyed my experience of NCS. On the first part of NCS which was in the Mendip hills I got to know and bond with my group. We all came from different backgrounds which helped create a unique and fun experience together. On the residential trip in which we stayed in university style accommodation we were set a budget and had to purchase all our ingredients for the whole week which helped teach us important skills such as budgeting, cooking, teamwork as we had to work together to prepare our meals. These skills will help us in the future and help others.
As part of the community project as a group we designed a dragon’s den style pitch to persuade “investors” (People choosing who the best project is and who to give more money for their community project. This helped me build my confidence and public speaking skills as my group leader helped the group design and practice the pitch.

For the community project, we provided an afternoon tea and food in a place which supports people affected by drug and alcohol addiction. We also painted a mural for them so that we could show our support. The afternoon was enjoyed by all people there and our whole group was proud of what we had done together and how we had helped other people.
On the residential trip, in which we stayed in university style accommodation, we were set a budget and had to purchase all our ingredients for the whole week which helped teach us important skills such as budgeting, cooking, teamwork as we had to work together to prepare our meals. These skills will help us in the future and help others.
During the residential time, my team was given a skill to learn with a mentor. My team was given Photography to learn. I really enjoyed learning this as I take photographs as a hobby anyway. Each team was given a different skill to learn which gives a wide range of skills that were being taught. We took photos together across the town and presented them to families who came along on the last day.
There were over 100,000 teenagers on NCS over the whole summer, this means that a lot of new friendships will have been made, new skills developed and the opportunity to develop a community. It was very enjoyable, and I also had an amazing time. I wouldn’t hesitate to sign up again.

Josh came back form each section excited about the new experiences he had had and friendships he had made. (I think the main aim of the outdoor team building for the teens was to find which corner of the site had internet reception!) He came away from the residential section with increased confidence in his meal planning and cooking skills, which I consider really important life skills. In the social action project the teens were engaged in helping those in society they may never have worked with before, In the initial team building phase he was able to take part in some outdoor activities he had not done before, as well as making lots of friends.

11th September 2016
NCS Graduation @ Athena, Leicester, UK
© Tom Horton

As well as a fun experience NCS was set up with a purpose in mind.
By bringing together young people from different backgrounds for a unique shared experience, NCS helps them to become better individuals, and in turn better citizens
NCS was established to help build a more cohesive, mobile and engaged society
As Josh said, “It was very enjoyable, and I also had an amazing time. I wouldn’t hesitate to sign up again” So what are you waiting for?

There are still places available for Year 11s to take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity this summer.

To sign up now, go to the NCS website. use this link:

This is a sponsored post.

These are our own thoughts on the NCS scheme. Some of the facts about NCS are taken directly from their promotional material.
The photographs were provided by the post sponsor.

Fancy a change of career that is also great for your own health?

Having children often brings a natural pause to take stock and reassess our priorities…to think about what we would love to do rather than a job that just pays the bills. If health and fitness is your thing, Luke from Origym has some pointers for you. Over to you Luke.

January is the busiest time of the year for most of us, after hopefully having some time off for relaxation and celebration over the Christmas period, It is back to the norm of routine and work, which can be more daunting for some of us more than others. I find it disturbing when people say they are dreading going back to work as we spend most of our lives at there and often the importance of job satisfaction is crucial to our overall happiness and wellbeing.

According to, setting a new career goal in the top five most prominent New Years resolution and the desire to re-train to become a fitness instructor or personal trainer within the fitness sector mirrors this trend. The fitness industry is not just the time where gym novices and seasonal trainers start flooding back to the gym, with this year being the year they finally get their dream body until March hits and those same people have given up and fallen off the bandwagon. It is also the time where more people enrol onto a fitness course than any other, seeking to make their hobby their main form of income.

If fitness is an important element in your life and the idea of going back to the mundane of a 9-5 office job does not appeal to you, then taking action and becoming a personal trainer might be a career path worth considering. You may not know the benefits of becoming a personal trainer and why it has been rated in The Times’ top ten, as one of the most rewarding jobs in the UK, but take a look at this list of reasons why over ten thousand people will make this decision in January alone this year:

1. Job Satisfaction – Have a career that focuses on your interests
2. Rewarding – Play an influential role in changing someone’s life
3. Choose when you work – 79% of personal trainer roles are freelance, become your own boss
4. Personal Trainer Salary Average (UK) – £27,000 National Average, not too shabby
5. You get to wear trackies and a vest everyday….Yes please!
6. Practical based job, no more sitting at a desk for you.
7. Great social implications in that you will always meeting new people

And many, many more…..


Firstly you need to be fully qualified as a level 3 personal trainer to be able to obtain the relevant insurance to conduct one to one personal training sessions. Think of it like the same way you need a license to drive a car, even if you know how to drive, you still need a license to get insurance and not make yourself liable for any damages. Fitness certification works in the same way, you need two fitness qualifications; the level 2 gym instructing and level 3 personal training qualification, this is the minimum requirement to become a personal trainer.

You can go via a college or a specific training provider, but always, always ensure that the fitness qualification you purchase is backed by the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) and is through a recognised awarding body, like Active IQ or YMCA Awards. Unfortunately there are providers that have not gone through this level of accreditation and ultimately the certificate you receive is worth no more than the piece of paper it is printed on. Once you have identified the right company for you, choose the learning method that suits you best in relation to the way you learn, your financial position or what type of studying fits into your schedule, Now you will be all set to realising your dream career.


The fitness sector is huge and many people think you get qualified to work in a gym and you might think that too? Although yes, the majority do take this career choice, there are more options than you perhaps think on how you can make a very good living from fitness. Simultaneously, not all personal training roles are the same either with gyms and health clubs operating under completely different business models, resulting in the way personal trainers earn the wage unique to that gym. Take a look at this list of jobs, roles and opportunities that might intrigue you:

1. Become a class instructor such as bootcamps, pilates or Yoga
2. Become a Gym Instructor
3. Become a Gym Manager
4. Become a freelance personal trainer for a gym
5. Become a freelance personal trainer for home visits or from gym to gym
6. Work as a physical trainer for the NHS or private healthcare clinic
7. Become a sports therapist, sports rehab or injury prevention for a sports team
8. Become a fitness tutor
9. Work for the MOD as a Personal Trainer
10. Start your own gym, private fitness studio or fitness club

There are many more options that you could explore and often, successful personal trainers have multiple job roles to add as many strings to their bow as possible, as this naturally increases their earning potential. The fitness industry is growing at a fast rate and in fact has grown very year for the past three decades but within the last few years it has exploded with awareness of health and fitness being amplified via social media and government focus to increase sporting and fitness participation. There has never been a better time to get involved with one of the most exciting industries it the world with the first time in recent years personal trainers are high in demand to fill this new avenues.

Whether you want to become a personal trainer or want to do any career for that matter, make sure you take action and start working towards a career you know you would enjoy, after all life is too short to spend not following your true calling.


Luke Hughes
Managing Director
Twitter: @Origym_COE

Luke is a qualified personal trainer and Director of Origym, an education company for the fitness sector as well as a gym owner. He moved from Birmingham to Liverpool to follow his passion for fitness and start his own career within the fitness sector. Luke enjoys everything fitness, but his true sporting focus is cycling and in his spare time he can often be found climbing the hills of the lake district.

This is a sponsored post to encourage mums to think about their career options.

Did you change career after you became a mum and how did it go? Let us know in the comments below.