So, my son came home from school today and said “NCS rang me up. Do I need to go?” As a fit, healthy 15 year old, who is heavily into leadership activities
at school, debating competitions and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, my response was, “No, I don’t think so”.
Interesting that the Cabinet Office is tweeting today about how participating in the NCS ‘boosts wellbeing for the young people who participate’. Something I guess, that those of us who have been involved in NCS-like activities since the 70’s & 80’s could have told them, but more interesting is how they choose to show it on www.gov.uk website (https://coanalysis.blog.gov.uk/2015/02/10/national-citizen-service-whats-the-impact/).
The links in the tweet lead eventually to http://www.ncsyes.co.uk/impact# where there is a paragraph about measuring the impact of participation in NCS of young people, focusing amongst others on confidence, compassion and capability. Interesting how youth work as a discipline was criticised for not being able to articulate this type of outcome by the 2012 Education Select Committee process, and yet NCS haven’t been able to find another way to evidence skills and qualities that we know are key outcomes of contact with youth work and youth workers. The results shown prompt further questions such as ‘how is confidence or compassion defined?’ or ‘how are these terms applied?’.
So what’s the difference? Perhaps our day conference on March 30th on Perspectives on Evidence in Youth and Community Work may help us to understand why NCS is able to ‘evidence’ confidence and yet it’s not seen as viable if a youth worker does.