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Planting the Seeds of Success at NCS Graduation Ceremony

Trainees at Stansted Airport College celebrated their first NCS Graduation Ceremony on Wednesday 18 December, where their hard work and dedication to the programme was recognised with a formal ceremony before they were rewarded with pizza and pop.

The National Citizen Service (NCS) is an experience for 15 to 17 year-olds, giving them the chance to embark on exhilarating challenges, make new friends and build skills for work and life.

It comprises of adventure activities, life skills and social action, including volunteering, before wrapping up with a graduation ceremony.

This once in a lifetime bespoke programme was designed around and embedded into the Aviation Operations course. The aim was to develop key communications, teamwork and leadership skills whilst enhancing the learning experience.

Social Action Projects involve young people working together to make a positive impact on their local community. This Project was geared towards helping offset the carbon footprint of the Airport whilst making the local green spaces surrounding the Airport more accessible to the community. 

This was achieved by the learners planting over 1000 daffodils around the College entrance; potting over 500 horse chestnut trees to replace ones that have been damaged by disease, building bug boxes and clearing public footpaths that were overgrown with foliage and litter. These paths have been impassable for over five years.

Martin Churley, Environment Manager at Stansted Airport said: “The environment is extremely important to the Airport. One of our commitments is zero nett loss to biodiversity which means that anything we develop we have to replace. 

“The Social Action Project will help us to meet our commitments. All of the bug boxes have now been put up around the wooded areas which will have a really positive impact on biodiversity.

“Working on a project like this with younger people, and getting them to understand what we’re doing, will really help get the message out there that, as an Airport, we really do care about the environment.

Deputy Head of College, Victoria Claydensmith, spoke about the dedication and hard work of the trainees. “All of our learners have benefitted from this experience, even the ones who weren’t as keen as the others are smiling a lot more around College and feeling more confident in their friendship groups. 

“The benefits to the learners are massive! They will have learned the value of volunteering and by working with Manchester Airport group on such an amazing project, they have really helped the community on so many levels.”

Robbie Minchin, 17, studying Level 3 Aviation Operations, spoke about his experience on the NCS scheme. “It was brilliant! I’ve gained a lot from it as a person. The experience has given me a real confidence boost. For my Social Action Project, I planted daffodils for our chosen charity Marie Curie. I also helped clear pathways and planted trees to give something back to the community.”

For more info about NCS visit: www.ncsyes.co.uk

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