NCS is an exciting programme for 16-17 year old’s it gives young people like me the chance to build confidence, develop key life skills, and make new friends before college.
I got the chance to speak to Michael Mancienne (who is now the Nottingham Forest NCS ambassador), as well as Eric Lichaj, to see why they believe it’s important for young people to take part in NCS.
Jake: “Why do you think young people should take part in NCS?”
Mancienne: “I think it’s good for their futures, helps them with team building so when they get a job, when they’re older, they can solve problems quicker and better. It obviously keeps them off the street, keeps them busy. It’s just good all round and good for the community.”
Lichaj: “Obviously it’s good for the community, especially helping somebody out and being able to see the satisfaction on another person, it’s just that little bit of satisfaction knowing you did something good. I think it helps yourself and anybody else. It sounds really good, I used to do stuff like that when I was younger, I’m going to tell my kids about NCS.”
Jake: “If this was around when you were 16 what would have been the thing you’d have most looked forward to on the programme?”
Lichaj: “Just listening to it I think the actual life skills. I didn’t really get taught that when I was 15/16, it was more just school work and getting your homework in. But the life skills are part of why I think they would help out. The kids might not realise at the time but when they get older they’ll definitely be gracious for it.”
Mancienne “Definitely life skills”
Jake: “So a key part of NCS is working in a team, why do you think it’s important to work well in a team?”
Lichaj: “Well for our profession we have every Saturday, we got to work in a team”
Mancienne: “Most jobs you have to work in a team anyway, so when you’re older you’re going to have to have them team bonding skills and social skills to be able to communicate with people. Obviously when you communicate with people you do your job better and work better in a team than by yourself.”
Jake: “Another key part is leadership, what do you think makes a good leader?”
Lichaj: “I think it’s just getting everyone on the same page whether it’s just by communication or by example, everybody’s different. I know footballers there’s a lot of different types of leaders and each group is different. I don’t know how you can teach someone to be a leader I think it’s just something where everyone’s a little but different. Like you said with helping out in the community and taking your own initiative to do things I think those are excellent steps to becoming a leader in your own right, so NCS will definitely help out.”
Jake: “So when teenagers do this they do it before they go to college, for a lot of them it’s about building confidence and making new friends. Having played in different teams, could you give any advice for people starting in new places?”
Lichaj: “I would say especially when I went to college and university when I went there, there’s always something for everybody so for example I was into football so I just surrounded myself with people who were into sports and there are always clubs and different things. No one should feel excluded. I think it’s probably the same in the UK, there’s a place for everybody and it’s just putting yourself out there where you’re a little bit nervous to get involved in the group or just putting your neck a little out there and you’ll be surprised how nice and generous people are.”
Mancienne: “I think you’ve just got to be yourself at the end of the day, and obviously when it comes to something you enjoy doing, try and express yourself because that’s how you make friends – like players who come to the club you speak with them but you don’t really get talking to them properly until you train with them. This morning I played with someone called Tex and I haven’t spoken to him much since he’s been in because I haven’t had much to say to him, not because I don’t like him, because I do like him he’s a nice guy, but obviously we played today and you get to speak to people that kind of way as well.”
It was great to speak to both Mancienne and Lichaj. They are viewed as role models by lots of young people, so hearing them say how important it is to take part in NCS, and how vital the life skills you can gain from it can be was fantastic. From my experience NCS is a great experience and I hope the NCS Match Day will only motivate more young people to take part in this amazing programme.
Ultimately NCS has meant a lot to me, it has given me unbelievable opportunities; like speaking to some of the Nottingham Forest footballers. It gave me the life changing experience of volunteering in Ghana last summer which is one of the follow up programmes which Nottingham Forest in the Community provide.
As Mancienne and Lichaj said, NCS gives you skills that you will need when you are older, no matter what job that is.