21 April 2017
Q&A with Katie Lowe, former NCS Wave Leader
Meet Katie, a Catch22 National Citizen Service (NCS) Coordinator working in Shropshire. Katie started with Catch22 as an NCS Wave Leader, inspiring and motivating 15-17 year olds through the NCS programme including residential trips away from home, local skills workshops and social action activities. Katie told us about her experience as an NCS Wave Leader and why she encourages others to apply to work with NCS over the summer.
Why did you decide to apply to be an NCS Wave Leader? After 3 years at University and juggling studying, working and family life I didn’t feel ready to start looking for a full time office job. NCS looked like SO much fun so I applied and have never looked back since!
Did you have any youth work experience before NCS? I had no youth work experience although I had volunteered for many organisations throughout my time at University, so I had work experience with a diverse range of people. Everyone thought I was mad to want to work with teenagers but I thrive on the idea of a challenge and I had a great feeling about the National Citizen Service.
In your words, what is NCS, what do you do each week, and why do you recommend it? I see the NCS as an essential investment into the next generation which is a start towards egalitarianism in British society. It is imperative to invest into our future to provide equal opportunities for young people and subsequently break the cycle of poverty. The NCS programme empowers young people to believe in themselves and achieve their dreams. NCS really can change lives; building the confidence in young people to believe in themselves is a healthy start to changing society.
My current role allows me to meet a diverse range of people and socialise with stakeholders that all share the same passion to help young people and provide a unique experience for them. I am so proud to be part of a team who contribute towards implementing a unique framework that encourages young people to be themselves.
An NCS Wave Leader will…manage a team of staff, some of whom will become friends for life. The intensity of being on the NCS programme means that you will develop close relationships with the staff team, working together for the same aim; to give the young people a summer of a lifetime! I have never laughed so much as I did in Summer ‘16 – it really did change my life! I feel I learned so much more from these young people than they learned from me. I grew as a person and I realised my passion. As a Wave Lead I managed to develop strong relationships with young people and help some through some very tough times. Knowing you have made a difference to their lives gives a huge amount of reward and I don’t think you can get that feeling in any other job!
There are moments that I will never forget from my summer last year; I still feel the emotion and overwhelming proud feeling when I look back. Seeing the young people grow and become confident young adults is something I will never forget. Watching them perform in their talent show was the realisation for me of the vast transition they had made in just over a week with us; I realised that the end of the programme they were ready to take on the world!
NCS is not only a summer of a lifetime for young people; it is for staff members too! I was lucky enough to continue working for Catch22 as part the NCS team and am now focussed and passionate about my career path. How different would my life be if I hadn’t applied for NCS? NCS definitely inspired me to believe that, no matter what, you can be whatever you want to be. Grab any opportunity, run with it and believe in yourself!
Inspired by Katie’s story? Join us this summer as an sessional NCS staff member for the experience of a lifetime.
- Find out more about the National Citizen Service (NCS)
- Apply to work with NCS
- Contact Catch22’s NCS team
- Follow Catch22 on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook