Senior Mentor at NCS The Challenge

Insight / Vacation Scheme (< 4 Weeks)
Reading Central London and City
Review Date
Less than £ 10,000
Public Sector/Governmental


About You
The Organisation
Everything Else


About You

1. To what extent did you enjoy the insight?

NCS provide a summer program that is so action packed and so much fun for the young people and the staff. Although it is a job, you are getting involved in all the activities and interacting with the young people and other staff members. It's really rewarding to watch the young people develop new skills and friendships over the program as well as developing your own skills.


2. To what extent did you feel valued during your time at the company or firm?

On the program there is about 6-10 other staff members with you. This means there is a close group of you and you can get to know each other well. NCS hold staff meetings each morning and evening to review the day and any opinions, this means that you feel your voice is being heard and that your opinions are acknowledged. They also provide regular staff feedback forms to take your opinions into account.


3. How much guidance/support did you receive during the insight?

Before the program there is training weekend that is essential you attend - one day if you are a previous staff member, two days if you are new. This is perhaps a bit long winded and could probably be reduced to the key training, however it does provide you with support and loads of tips for the program. During the program you are given numerous booklets with information to refer to as well as having a program leader who you can go to for advice.


4. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and information you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?

I developed more confidence in talking to people and public speaking. Therefore during presentations I wasn't afraid to present to the others in the room after having to stand up and talk in front of the young people. It's also given me experience of working with people in different age groups.


The Organisation

5. How well structured was the insight?

The program was very structured. It is very busy and you have to meet to time schedules very precisely in order to fit every thing in. This was good because it meant that there were no dull moments and you were always working towards something, meaning you and the young people had a clear focus. However, sometimes it could make things a bit chaotic because if you were running a bit behind on something there was a lot of pressure to meet the deadline.


6. How was the general atmosphere during your insight?

Really great atmosphere. You're around so many people throughout the program and the level of excitement is great. You become really close with the other staff members throughout the program which gives you a sense of unity, and as there are so many young people they are all running around and chatting together and there is a general level of excitement that motivates you throughout the weeks.


7. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?

Training was delivered as a group training weekend, purely because there are so many staff members for the whole summer. There are plenty of opportunities to ask questions or for advice during the training weekend, and even during the program. There isn't loads of opportunities for personal training just because there are so many staff, but you do feel you are well prepared.


8. To what extent did the insight help you to understand what it would be like to have a full time role with the company or firm?

The role was very intense, while it was only for a few weeks, the first two weeks were residential and therefore not a typical 9-5 job, you had to get up early to get the young people up and stay up late to make sure they were in bed and for your reviews. Also the days are very unique, with activities in the day, free time in the evening and then an evening activity, and this isn't something you would find in a full time job.


9. How much did the insight help you in understanding the company culture?

It very much helped me understand the company culture. NCS have a very strong ethos and strong values that are clearly represented. In our information packs and timetables we have things to follow that represent the company culture, NCS are a company that really follow their values and it's mainly about team work, communication, helping others and trying new things.


10. How valuable was the content in helping you to decide on your future career path?

It was a summer program so it didn't really help me decide on a career path. If you want to work with young people or children in your career then it would have been incredibly valuable. However it did help me develop my people skills and did help me understand I want to be in a career where I'm working and interacting with other people.


Other Information

11. Were you paid or reimbursed adequately for this experience?

I was paid very well for this experience, I think it is deserved pay considering the first two weeks are residential. You are reimbursed for expenses on the program that you pay - for example catching the bus with the young people. You are not reimbursed for food in the final week - but in the first two weeks NCS cater your breakfast, lunch and dinner for you so this is very reasonable.

12. Were there opportunities for networking and meeting other employees of the company or firm?

You work very closely with your staff members throughout the program so there isn't really opportunities to meet other employees outside of the program. You do meet other employees during the training weekend but you will not be working with them in the program. During the program there are staff that help to plan and manage the program and they come and visit you.


13. How were the networking/ social event opportunities?

I didn't really think there were any networking or social event opportunities. However, the good thing about NCS is that once you are employed you have a job with them next year and you don't have to reapply. Occasionally you get an email about day work available with NCS, but due to the nature of the program there isn't really networking opportunities.


14. Did you find out about activities that employees can get involved in outside of work?

I never really heard of any other activities that employees could get involved with outside of work.
However, the good thing about NCS is that once you are employed you have a job with them next year and you don't have to reapply. Occasionally you get an email about day work available with NCS,


15. Would you recommend this insight to a friend?

Definitely, if you are looking for a summer job it is perfect. It is a really amazing experience. Although you are working you are still having so much fun - how many jobs give you the chance to go rock climbing etc. while you are working. You build great friendships with the staff and it's really rewarding to watch your work with the young people pay off as they develop and give new opportunities a try, develop new social skills and make great friendships. Definitely recommended.