NCS motivates student to go to University

The National Citizen Service (NCS) programme has impacted numerous young people’s lives in a positive way but none more than Sheffield Wednesday supporter Cara Harrison.

The bubbly teenager has transformed herself from a shy high school student who was unsure what her next steps would be to being accepted by four universities to study Biomedical Science.

Cara puts her new self-found confidence and belief down to her experiences as an NCS student with the Owls and believes NCS played a crucial role in helping her obtain a place at university.

On Friday, Sheffield Wednesday will be hosting their annual NCS match day when Birmingham City visit Hillsborough, live in front of the Sky cameras.

Cara, who still supports the NCS programme at Sheffield Wednesday Community Programme on a voluntary basis, hopes more people will follow her path and say yes to NCS.

“It is good that clubs participate in NCS match day and important that we spread the word.

“Everyone needs to be clear how much of a positive programme NCS is and how it can help young people.

“The NCS has done a lot for me so I want to carry on helping and raising awareness for the programme.

“I had to step out of my comfort zone when I joined the programme, however it was fun and perfect to do in-between finishing school and starting college.

“The NCS is something that everyone should be doing and I have so many lifetime fond memories from my time on the programme. Because of the NCS, I have met some good friends now and I wouldn’t have met them if I didn’t join.

“My confidence instantly boosted and my communication skills improved. I can now talk in front of a crowd of people I don’t know and feel good about it whereas I didn’t before NCS.

“The NCS has taught me independence and responsibility. It will be always something I look back on fondly.”


Cara will this year be an NCS mentor for Sheffield Wednesday before heading off to university in September, with her destination of study yet to be decided.

She continued: “I want to be a genetic health scientist now and the NCS swayed my decision. I knew I wanted to do that degree, but I didn’t realise how many good opportunities were at the end of it.

“I remember writing my University application and it heavily referenced the NCS and my experiences. There was so much to write about the NCS because the opportunities are endless.”

The National Citizen Service (NCS) programme has a proven success rate of helping 15-17 year olds build their confidence levels and develop important life skills. It is a chance for teens to shake things up and develop new skills for whatever post-GCSE life has to throw at them. It changes how teens see the world and has a huge impact on communities across the UK with over 1.9 million hours of social action taking place across the country – the equivalent to building 74 Olympic Stadiums and 1 The Great Wall of China.

To find out how you can get involved in the NCS programme visit –


NCS Matchday takeover!

NCS Matchday has returned with EFL clubs from all three divisions uniting to show their support for the programme which is focused on providing opportunities for 15-17 year olds.

The NCS Matchday takeover has proven to be a huge success in recent years, with the aim to increase awareness and participation.

In the coming weeks, clubs all across the land will host their NCS Matchday. The club’s first team players will have an important role to play by warming up in NCS branded t-shirts and meeting programme graduates.


NCS graduates will be in attendance throughout the day to discuss their experiences of the programme to younger supporters.

NCS is a nationwide experience for 15-17 year olds. It is a unique opportunity for young people to learn new skills alongside having fun and creating unforgettable memories. More than 275,000 young people have already said yes to NCS.

Josh Morris, Scunthorpe United’s NCS Ambassador said: ”NCS is brilliant. It gives young people the chance to experience a variety of challenges while building new friendships and benefitting the local community.”

John’s views were echoed by Cara Harrison, an NCS graduate from Sheffield Wednesday. Talking about the NCS Matchday, she said: ”It is good that clubs participate in NCS match day and important that we spread the word.

”Everyone needs to be clear how much of a positive programme NCS is and how it can help young people. The NCS programme is something everyone should be doing and I have so many lifetime fond memories from my time on the programme. Because of the NCS, I have met some good friends now and I wouldn’t have met them if I didn’t join.”


To find out more about how to get involved in the NCS programme visit –





Teen lands his dream job after completing NCS

After completing an NCS course run by Peterborough United’s community department ‘The Posh Foundation’, teenager Callum Avent landed his dream job at his boyhood club.

There are a number of different challenges for young people as they go through adolescence. One of the most common hurdles is a dip in self-confidence.

The National Citizen Service (NCS) programme has a proven success rate of helping 15-17 year olds build their confidence levels and develop important life skills. It is a chance for teens to shake things up and develop new skills for whatever post-GCSE life has to throw at them. It changes how teens see the world and has a huge impact on communities across the UK with over 1.9 million hours of social action taking place across the country – the equivalent to building 74 Olympic Stadiums and 1 The Great Wall Of China.

Teenager Callum Avent turned his life around after signing up to the NCS programme four years ago at his beloved football club, Peterborough United.

Callum is first to admit that when he started the programme, he was a very shy and quiet person. Now, aged 19, Callum is a self-assured young man and is living his lifelong dream by working full time for his favourite football club Peterborough United as their Futsal Assistant.

”The NCS programme instantly appealed and it has helped me in so many ways.” admitted Callum.

”A lot of people joined who were in the same boat as me and we learned so many important life skills that have proven to be invaluable.

”The NCS programme has benefited me as a whole. I was very shy and had no confidence but by being given responsibilities and working as a team it helped me be who I am today.

“We did a few different tasks such as helping local charities and going away for a few days to Shropshire to do team activities. We also did workshops for CV and employability which opens so many doors.

“Some people at a young age don’t have that much confidence so the NCS programme helps with that and you can conquer so many fears when you are away from your family.”

Callum’s attitude and commitment to the programme was noted by the club’s NCS manager Jenna Lusk, resulting in the die-hard Posh fan gaining full time employment at the League One side.

Callum explained: “Peterborough United invited me to come back and be a volunteer for the NCS programme. It was something I immediately wanted to do, to help others.

“Alongside NCS, I was on the Futsal programme and after my scholarship finished, Jenna offered me a job and I haven’t looked back.

“I would tell any young person to say yes to NCS because it can help you achieve your ambitions that you think may not be possible.

“NCS is growing, when I was first on the course I used to talk to people about it and only a few people would recognise it. Now it is so popular and everyone knows what it is. A lot of organisations recognise NCS.

“I remember five years ago doing work experience as a year 10 student at Peterborough United and now I am here and I love it!”

Peterborough United amongst 31 other clubs across the EFL will be hosting a NCS match day. The NCS Match Day takeover has proven to be a huge success in recent years through the guidance of EFL Trust, with the aim to increase awareness and increase participation. The club’s first team players will have an important role to play by warming up in NCS branded t shirts and meeting programme graduates.

To find out how you can get involved in the NCS programme visit –



New Year – New Career with a Football Business Degree

If your New Year’s resolution is to improve your career, unlikely as it may seem, then football might just have the solution for you. 

If you’re the type of person that lives and loves football, soaking up all the information you can on the beautiful game – then there’s now a football business degree that allows you to use your knowledge of football to get business degree.

Football Business Degree The BA (Hons) Business Management (Sport & Football) uses a range of football case studies and themes as a means to teach the principles of business. The degree, which is undertaken primarily via distance learning, is first and foremost a business degree that is applicable to a wide range of careers.

In most case the course can be funded via student loan. This means you can pay back via monthly installments but only when your earnings reach the threshold.

The degree has been devised by The Open University in partnership with EFL Trust and allows students to select specific business, management, training and sports modules to match their career ambitions with intriguing themes such as the economics of football, motivation, team effectiveness, and strategic management.

People learn best when they are interested and passionate about the subject. So using football, which inspires passion among millions of people, is a great way to teach the principle of business. Although this football business degree could open up a career in sport it can be used in any job that requires a management qualification.

Click to find out more

Footballers Say Yes to NCS

Professional footballers from the EFL have pledged their support for the National Citizen Service (NCS) by becoming ambassadors for the teenage personal and social development programme.The popular NCS programme is delivered by EFL clubs across the country, helping young people develop important skills whilst making an impact in their local communities. Sheffield Wednesday’s Liam Palmer and former Sky Bet Championship star George Friend have joined a host of footballers who have signed up to support the programme.

The National Citizen Service (NCS) is the country’s flagship youth programme, open to 16 and 17 year-olds across England and Northern Ireland with the aim to create a more cohesive, responsible and engaged society. It is a unique two or three week full-time programme focused around fun and discovery, and includes 30 hours committed to a community project that benefits both young people and society.EFL leading scorer and Scunthorpe United winger Josh Morris met NCS graduates who completed the programme at the Iron’s Glanford Park home. The former England U20 international was quizzed by the Scunthorpe United’s Community Trust’s graduates about his pathway into football, his career so far and his fantastic start to life at Scunthorpe United. The roles were then switched and Josh had his own questions lined up for the graduates, finding out what they have learnt and gained from enrolling as an NCS student.To say “yes” to NCS or to find out more visit

Speaking proudly about his role as Scunthorpe United’s NCS Ambassador, Josh said: “I’m delighted and proud to be chosen as NCS Ambassador. NCS is brilliant. It gives young people the chance to experience a variety of challenges while building new friendships and benefitting the local community. I’m looking forward to getting involved in NCS and meeting the young people on the programme.”

Scunthorpe United’s NCS graduate Ryan Jones said: “NCS has opened up various options that I wasn’t aware of before joining the programme. We have participated in a whole range of different activities and I would encourage any 15-17 year old to consider saying yes to NCS.

“Josh is a brilliant figure to have as Scunthorpe United’s NCS Ambassador. We all asked Josh a few questions about his career and he took a keen interest in how NCS has played a positive part in our lives.”

The EFL’s Trust Programme Manager Dominik Stingas-Paczko added: “The support we get from football clubs and players is fantastic. Our relationship with football clubs allows us to reach a larger audience.

“It’s always great when you see players interacting with young people on the programme. It would be great in years to come to see a professional football player who is an NCS graduate.”

Using the power of football, NCS EFL Trust are in a unique position to publicise the work that NCS are doing during the programme and after. Last year, the social media campaign #NCSMatchDay reached over one million people. The EFL Trust have been delivering the NCS programme since its pilot year in 2011 and now have a network of over 20,000 graduates.

The NCS programme offers a unique opportunity for 16-17 year olds and costs just £50. The programme takes place three times a year in the spring, summer and autumn holidays and 275,000 young people have participated in the programme since it began in 2011. To sign up today or for more information, please visit

2016 NCS player ambassadors:

Barnsley – Marc Roberts
Doncaster Rovers – Niall Mason and Joe Pugh
Rotherham United – Lee Frecklington
Sheffield United – George Long
Sheffield Wednesday – Liam Palmer
Grimsby Town – Shaun Pearson
Scunthorpe United – Josh Morris
Hartlepool United – Padraig Amond
Middlesbrough – George Friend
Accrington Stanley – Nathan Webb
Blackpool – Clark Robertson
Blackburn Rovers – Hope Akpan
Preston North End – Chris Maxwell
Fleetwood Town – David Ball
Burnley – Sam Vokes
Carlisle United – Michael Raynes
Shrewsbury Town – Gary Deegan
Portsmouth – Jack Whatmough

Community Football Degree Led to Full-time Role at Championship Club

Former electrical engineer Mark Reynolds, 34, graduated from the Foundation Degree in Community Football Coaching and Development in 2016. He is now a Community Coach at Bristol City FC, and also the Club’s Foundation Degree Mentor.

What is your job?

I am a Community Coach at Bristol City FC, delivering sports sessions across Bristol which help enhance the reputation of the club in the community. I am also the Club’s Foundation Degree Mentor. With my experience of the course I can hopefully guide other students successfully through the course.

Why did you want to do the Foundation Degree?

Before I started the course, I was an electrical engineer for Rolls Royce. I wanted a complete change and hoped that the course would help me start a career in the football industry. I’d played football for many years and thought I would enjoy helping others develop their ability and confidence through coaching.

Did the course help you get your current job?

Absolutely. The placement I had at the football club as part of the course gave me the opportunity to put the content of the course into practice and also impress the people who would eventually employ me. I have been a fan of the football club since I was young so it’s great to now work here.

Tell us about the placements

I did a placement on a Walking Football programme, which is aimed at the over 50s. It was really important to understand a community project as part of the course and this gave me great insight into community needs rather than just youth football coaching.

What were the most valuable aspects of the course?

I would say being able to use lecture content in a practical environment; it’s great to see the theory work in practice. I learned so much. Although I had some football knowledge, what I learnt about the methodology of coaching was huge. It has made me much more adaptable and understanding of player needs.

How was going back to University as a mature student?

Being a mature student was interesting – I had to learn to learn again! I really enjoyed it though and adding theoretical knowledge to life experience has been invaluable. Learning online was great, and I found it very beneficial to be able to go over lecture content to check over detail. The teachers were fantastic and their knowledge of coaching is superb as are the facilities at USW Sport Park.

What are your plans now?

I am very open minded about my future, but it certainly lies within the football industry. I think the qualification helps to open doors that can lead to many different paths.

Read more here.

Teens make a difference in Hull and East Riding

It’s not just teenagers that have benefited from NCS in Hull and East Riding this summer!

The group began working with Dove House Hospice, taking on the NCS Accumulator challenge. The challenge itself was to start with £50 and use this to support fundraising and raise awareness. The group exceeded all expectations, raising £1,600 through various fundraising activities ranging from a door to door car washing service, a Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood inspired Great British Bake Off Challenge, and an open mic evening to celebrate local musical talent in Hull.


Dan Clipson of Dove Hospice has been blown away by the support from young people on NCS programmes, and says: This summer was a great experience for both the NCS teams and for us here at Dove House Hospice. The Accumulator Challenge was well received by all of the groups and allowed young people to really develop their skills that they’d learnt earlier in the programme.

We’re excited to see how our growing relationship develops with the NCS programme, allowing the Accumulator Challenge to become a real staple of hospice care awareness and fundraising from a younger generation”.

Many young people have now expressed an interest in continuing their support of the hospice through taking part in upcoming events such as the Colour Run – a 5k fun run leaving you awash with a rainbow of colours.

As well as supporting Dove House Hospice, the group undertook a project to support the HU5 area of Hull. After hearing on Radio Humberside that local people weren’t happy with the state of their streets, the young people took it upon themselves to clean them and filled over 40 bags of rubbish on their first day. Word spread of what they were doing, and Radio Humberside invited them along to speak live on radio with DJ Dave Burns about their social action project.

Whilst benefiting the community, the impact NCS has had on these youngsters has been significant; they have developed life skills, learnt about the local community, and most importantly, developed a sense of achievement with the difference that they have made.

Andreea Voinea, a volunteer aged 16 from Hull said: “This has been the most incredible summer. I had so much fun, tried something new every day and met new people who I can’t wait to meet up with again.’’

Andreea continued: “One of my highlights was creating our social action project to support Dove Hospice and help clean the streets of HU5. It was amazing to be able to see the project through and realise the huge difference we can make if we put our minds to it – the sense of achievement at the end raising over £1,600 for Dove Hospice, and the amount of rubbish we collected was something I’d never experienced before and it really bonded the group. I’d definitely encourage other young people to give it a go.”

Social action projects are taking place across the country with the NCS programme and this is just one of many examples of how young people are making a positive difference in their community.

The Power of Football to get even more kids moving!

EFL Trust launches the third year of the +Sport Move and Learn Project, in partnership with Ferrero and local EFL Clubs.

Ferrero, EFL Trust and its network of 22 Club Trusts which include Sheffield United FC and Derby County are today announcing that they are embarking on the third year of their partnership to get even more children moving through a primary schools programme that uses the power of football to encourage children to take part in physical activity, while helping them to understand the importance of a balanced diet and an active lifestyle.

The +Sport Move and Learn Project is part of Ferrero’s global Kinder + Sport initiative designed to encourage active lifestyles in children across the world that has already reached over 15 million children. To date, the programme has been delivered locally by football club trusts in 776 schools, with 43,577 children impacted. To build on this success, this year 615 schools and approximately 37,000 children will be reached.

Over the course of six weeks, children from Year 5 classes spend 45 minutes in the classroom learning about the body, nutrition and the importance of exercise, through participating in interactive activities. The second half of the 90 minute session is dedicated to playing football, dodgeball or handball, with two weeks spent on each sport.

Anthony Jones, Ashgate Primary School, Derby has said “The Kinder + Sport Move and Learn project has had huge benefits to our school and pupils, educating them on nutrition and an active lifestyle. It’s great that the kids have enjoyed the physical activity which is so important at that age, and the variety of activities such as dodgeball. Look forward to more in the future!”

Football Players are key to the delivery of the Kinder + Sport Move and Learn Programme, offering a unique way of engaging children and delivering key messages. Sheffield United Community Foundation Health Ambassador, England U21s and Blades goalkeeper George Long, is a huge supporter of the Kinder + Sport Move and Learn Project, saying “It’s vital that we educate children from a young age on a healthy diet and encourage an active lifestyle. The Kinder +Sport Move and Learn Programme is a really fun and interactive project engaging thousands of children each year. I’m extremely proud to be able to support such an important programme”.


A spokesperson from Ferrero said: “Since launching Kinder + Sport in the UK two years ago, we have moved over 100,000 children as a result. Active children are more likely to grow into active adults, so we are passionate about inspiring future generations in communities across the UK to get active and live well. The EFL Trust is the perfect partner; football clubs are at the heart of their communities and engage and inspire people from all generations – and this is exactly what we want to do with Kinder + Sport in the UK.”


Mike Evans, Director of Operations at the EFL Trust said: “We’ve been working with Ferrero for three years now and seeing the programme go from strength to strength is incredible. The power of sport and the club badge allows our network of community trusts to deliver key messages, such as tackling obesity, to reach out to the wider community. This investment in helping to get future generations living well is invaluable and we look forward to continuing to work with Ferrero and our own network.

Clean Sweep for Wigan Athletic Community Trust

Wigan Athletic Community Trust took home all of the spoils at the recent USW Foundation Degree in Football Coaching & Development awards evening. Along with the big awards, the outstanding students from each club involved in the foundation degree were awarded for their hard work, as the programme celebrated another successful year.

As well as being named Club of the Year for the second year in a row, two members of the Community Trust’s teams were highlighted for their individual work on the course; Chris Baxter as Student of the Year and Adam Sherratt as Club Mentor of the Year.


Six coaches from Wigan Athletic Community Trust have spent the last twelve months studying year one of their degree, with nine completing their second year and one completing his third, whilst they all also worked and volunteered as sports coaches for the Community Trust.

Tom Flower, Head of Community at Wigan Athletic Community Trust said: “We are extremely proud of the hard work that everyone involved with the University of South Wales degree has put in this year and to be acknowledged by receiving these three awards highlights their achievements.”

“Not only have the coaches successfully completed year one of their degree, they have all continued to deliver high quality coaching throughout the year across a number of our projects.”

Adam Sherratt, Education Officer for the Trust, said: “When we won Club of the Year last year, I said that we wanted to continue the good work with our second set of students; to receive three awards is a real credit to the effort put in by everyone involved with the course.”

Jay Probert, course leader for the foundation degree at USW added: “We have been really impressed again with how the students have performed on this programme all across the country, with Wigan Athletic again setting the standards in how they support their students to achieve in their academic studies and also in their work based learning”

The foundation degree is delivered by the University of South Wales in partnership with EFL Trust, with students combing their Higher Education with work placements at 32 EFL clubs.

To find out more about the University of South Wales foundation degree, please click here.

Congratulations to the following students, who won student of the year on the night for their respective clubs:
Liam Yates – Blackpool FC
Dumisani Madhlazi – Brentford FC
Emily Stephens – Bristol City FC
Jimi Brock – Bristol Rovers FC
Connor Richins – Burton Albion FC
Daniel Clark – Cardiff City FC
Georgia Smethurst – Carlisle United FC
Aaron Lowe – Cheltenham Town FC
Christopher Hill – Crewe Alexandra FC
Niall O’Grady – Derby County FC
Brian Noble – Grimsby Town FC
Joseph McCann – Liverpool FC
Ieuan Baldwin – Newport County FC
Billy Warburton – Nottingham Forest FC
Luke Clarke – Portsmouth FC
Luke Prior – Portsmouth FC
Josh Tomlinson – Preston North End FC
James Payne – Rotherham United FC
Zach Meadows – Scunthorpe United FC
Jordan Wildey – Sheffield United FC
Josh Blunkett – Sheffield Wednesday FC
Ryan Lockley – Shrewsbury Town FC
Josh Harkness – Southampton FC
Tyler Maloney – Southend United FC
Christopher Baxter – Wigan Athletic FC
Jack Bowser – Wolverhampton Wanderers FC


A Gold Medal for NCS Teens

Young people in Doncaster received an inspirational visit from a gold medal winning Paralympic hero last week.

The group of teenagers who are on the National Citizen Service programme (NCS) in Yorkshire and Humber, were visited by former Team GB Paralympic gold medal winner Liz Johnson.  Thanks to a partnership with Dame Kelly Holme Trust, over 1000 teens on NCS have been inspired and motivated by Paralympian Champions. Club Doncaster Foundation is one of the providers that deliver programme in these areas.


Liz Johnson, was one of many athletes to visit the programme this summer, delivering a workshop to over 120 teenagers from Doncaster. The former Paralympic Swimmer is one of Wales’ most successful Paralympians winning medals in Athens, Beijing and London.

The workshop delivered was fun and engaging, with a purpose to inspire and motivate young people, linking back to the goal setting. The group also took part in interactive team building activities that they found very useful when working on their social action projects. Liz also spoke to the young people about her life story and the journey she went on to becoming a Paralympic medallist.

Liz commented: “Our inspirational programmes are all about supporting young people from all backgrounds to work together, take on new challenges and make a difference. The young people on NCS made fantastic progress in such a short space of time. I can’t wait to hear about how the attitudes and skills they’ve developed impact positively on the success of their social action projects.”

The workshop delivered on behalf of Dame Kelly Holmes Trust have been inspirational to young people.

Jodi Parkinson, who took part in the workshop in Doncaster said: “I really enjoyed the team building activities with Liz and Dam Kelly Holmes Trust, it was amazing to see everyone try and do different things and really push themselves. The workshop has been great and it was very inspirational to meet someone who has achieved so much!”

For more information about the programme please visit