Year 11 and 12 students have been urged to take part in a national initiative that helps prepare them for future employment.
The National Citizen Service aims to give 16 and 17 year-olds the chance to learn new skills and get involved in their community during a two-week course, one of which is spent at a residential outdoor activity centre on the mainland.
After the two week course, participants will use their new skills to develop a community action project in their local area, aimed at making a difference to local people. This could involve organising a community event, fundraising, working with a charity – the choices are unlimited and made by those taking part.
For the first time, the scheme is being made available to all Island students who are currently in Year 11 or Year 12 on the Island (ages 15 to 17). Though there are 60 places available for young Islanders, so far take up has been slow.
Andrew Briggs, the Isle of Wight Council's commissioning manager for 14 to 19 in education and skills, said: “The scheme offers valuable experience to young people that should hold them in good stead when planning a career or applying for place in further of higher education. Undertaking the course shows a young person is keen to better both themselves and work as part of a team. What is more it is a rewarding and entertaining experience.
“However so far we have only received seven applications so we are keen to spread the word about the opportunity available and to encourage young people to take part.”
The scheme takes place during the summer holidays. All costs for the residential are covered as part of the programme – for example qualified instructors, specialist equipment, food and transport to the venue from an agreed collection point. Those taking part are asked to make a minimal contribution of £50. In situations of hardship, there may be bursaries to enable all students to take part.