The problem

The overwhelming majority of teenagers (81%) felt that they were negatively presented in the media, which made them less active in their communities (58%) and less willing to reach outside their peer group (62%).

Young people are Britain’s biggest untapped resource when it comes to tackling the great social challenges facing the UK. When young people choose to employ their energy and idealism to take action on these issues they can make a significant impact.

The solution

200,000 young people are engaged and emboldened by NCS but don’t know where to go next.

With Big Change, NCS has developed an online hub that connects its graduates with volunteering and employment opportunities once the programme has finished.

As a result, a projected 1 million young people will have access to ongoing work and volunteering opportunities by 2020.

“Our vision for NCS is to engage a generation of young people all over the country to transform their communities. Big Change is helping us put that vision into action with a new online platform for NCS graduates – and by introducing us to a range of amazing people in their network.”

Michael Lynas

Work in action

In 2014, Big Change granted £143k to support the development and roll out of the online platform that:

  • Builds graduate profiles of each participant;
  • Develops targeted communications to deliver more effective opportunities;
  • Secures ongoing engagement by establishing a go-to location for social action

National Citizen Service (NCS) is founded on the belief that young people can change the world around them if given the right tools, opportunities and respect.

They run an intense three part programme for 15 to 17 year olds to take on new challenges, learn new skills, connect to their community and others from different backgrounds.

The Big Changers

Michael Lynas

Michael Lynas is the CEO of NCS Trust. He first started working on National Citizen Service (NCS) as a consultant at Bain & Company in 2009 when it was just an idea – to give every teenager the chance to connect with people from different backgrounds, learn new skills for work and life, and make their mark in their community. Since then, he has worked with an amazing – and growing – team of people to help turn this idea into a reality, including by championing NCS during his time as a civil servant at No10 Downing Street. In February 2013, Michael joined NCS Trust, an independent social enterprise dedicated to shaping, supporting and leading a thriving National Citizen Service.


Through the Opportunity Hub, NCS have unlocked the potential to immediately engage 75,000 young people in meaningful volunteering and work experiences. It also enables NCS to track the ongoing experience and learn how best to extend engagement with the graduate community.

A partnership with Do It will also make 1.3m volunteering opportunities available to NCS graduates, and a number of companies are partnering with them to offer interview and work experience through the program.

“The Oli that went into NCS was shy, anxious, worried. I left an improved oli… I developed a strong sense of teamwork, social skills and other life skills. I have been truly blessed by ncs – it’s changed me for the better.”

NCS Graduate