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Teens celebrate success at glittering graduations

Posted: 13 October 2017

Young people have celebrated their success on a “life-changing” personal and social development project organised by West Nottinghamshire College.

More than 150 teenagers took to the stage to receive certificates of achievement in front of proud parents and carers after completing the National Citizen Service (NCS) scheme over the summer.

NCS is a government-led initiative to support 15-17 year-olds in the transition to adulthood. Participants get involved in social action projects, residential trips, outdoor physical challenges and fundraising activities, which helps them form friendships and learn new skills. It runs three times-a-year during the spring, summer and autumn school breaks.

Portland College, Mansfield, played host to two graduation ceremonies earlier this month (2 and 3 October), where organisers congratulated the remaining participants of the four-week summer programme following previous graduations in September.

It came after the graduates took part in activities ranging from a week-long residential at Oaklands Manor Outdoor Leadership Centre, Buxton, Derbyshire, which saw them enjoy team-building activities and camping, to spending a week at West Nottinghamshire College to plan social action projects to aid communities and charities of their choice, which they carried out in the fourth and final week.

They contributed towards an incredible 10,000 combined hours on social action projects recorded by all NCS summer participants, who worked with a range of local and national organisations including Lawn Park Care Home, King’s Mill Hospital’s dementia ward, Willow Tree Family Farm, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Jerry Green Dog Rescue, MIND, Dementia UK, Framework, Bliss, and the Alzheimer’s Society, raising almost £4,500 in total.

This included £370 towards Miss Mansfield 2017 Jessica Pinnick’s bid to raise £5,000 to sponsor and name a guide dog puppy, and £335 for the Alzheimer’s Society, after some of them made a video to raise awareness of those living with the disease, which has received thousands of views on social media.

West Nottinghamshire College’s student experience team-leader, Robert Pearce, said: “These were the final two graduation ceremonies from the NCS summer programme, celebrating these amazing young people’s participation in this life-changing scheme.

“It was fantastic to see the joy on their faces at they met up with their friends once more to celebrate each other’s success and re-live their time together.

“It was quite emotional witnessing the difference the project has made to the graduates; increasing their confidence and employability skills. Huge congratulations to them all – they’ve done themselves proud.

“I’d also like to thank each member of the team that has worked on the NCS project for positively influencing the lives of so many young people.”

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