I thought it was absolutely incredible. So much so that I've been back and done it again 8 times since.. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. It was the most rewarding experience and it truly changed me as a person for the better. It's something that I know I will do again some day.
I felt completely valued at all parts of the programme. I always felt included, like my opinion and input was not only valued, but wanted and asked for. It really helped me to develop myself and also to help develop the programme itself for future seasonal staff from my experiences.
When it comes to guidance and support, it was both extensive and thorough, whilst not being forced upon me. I always knew that it was there for me if I needed it and that someone would gladly help me in any aspect of my role, but I didn't feel as if I was being babied or walked through the role.
I feel that the skills I developed and the information I received will really help me as I am now much better at working in a team, managing my time and working quickly and efficiently under pressure. I feel that these skills are transferable to any form of studies or work.
The NCS with The Challenge programme was extremely well structured and this structure was not only well put together, but very clear and transparent for all staff and young people. I feel that this is very effective as it keeps everybody in the loop and knowing what to expect each day.
The general atmosphere varied from day to day, but overall it was always positive. It was both comfortable and calm at times, whilst exciting and full of adrenaline at others. Of course there were some times that were more difficult than others, but this never felt like a problem as I was always put with a fully capable team who were happy to help whenever I needed it.
I always felt as if there was a lot of investment put into me during my time working on NCS with The Challenge. It felt as if my leaders and managers truly wanted to help me develop and to see me grow both personally and professionally and they were actively trying to help me achieve this.
I feel that working on the programme have me a very clear insight to what it would be like to have a full time role within the organisation. From meeting the several different core staff, I came to find that they all seemed happy and genuine. As well as this, they all seemed like fun, kind and like-minded people.
I feel that the content for each part of the programme has helped me decide on my future career path, so much so that it made me want to completely change the path I want to take. It has completely inspired me and made me want to make a difference and to keep working with young people.
I was paid very generously for the role. The Senior Mentor role paid (in 2016) £1530 for 18 days, which is absolutely great for a student. As well as this, all of my essential expenses whilst working on the programme were covered. This included travel to and from the different community and professional partners.
There were a great deal of opportunities for networking and meeting other employees of the organisation on each part of the programme as we were constantly introduced to different staff of different roles, opening us to a variety of different opportunities. Further to this, we also networked with the different charity organisations and other companies.
There is a huge social element when working on NCS with The Challenge, with the opportunity to attend different events where you could both socialise and get to know people better, as well as meet other people for networking and professional development. It has lead to further work opportunities. I'd highly recommend it to anyone.
I would recommend this to anyone, in fact, I do. Over the years I have convinced quite a few of my friends to take part in the programme and they have all absolutely loved it and returned to do it several more times, some have even moved on to work for The Challenge full time. Without meaning to, I seem to talk about it all the time as I truly believe in what it represents and want to carry on being involved.