National Citizen Service Starts In Wales

Young people in Wales are being given the chance to learn new skills and help their community.

Teenagers will spend a week away from home and then work on their own local project as part of the National Citizen Service.

Almost 80 thousand young people have already taken part in England and Northern Ireland - now it's being piloted in Wales.

16 and 17 year olds will go on a residential course doing things like gorge walking and canoeing and will then come up with their own project to help people in their area.

Communities Minister Jeff Cuthbert said:  "Team working, problem solving, communicating - those are things that employers tell us they want.

"If young people are able to show them that in their own time, I've done this and that - this is what I've learned then that is a definate plus."

Westminster is giving £300,000 to the Welsh Government to make it work.

In England, young people have to pay to take part but here it'll be free.

Ali Abdi is a youth worker in Butetown in Cardiff.  He said it'll encourage teenagers to think about what happens in their area:  "I think often when they see things happen in their community - it just happens - but if they see things and they're involved in it and they can see the fruits of their labour, they'll look after it more and there's that sense of ownership there.

"I think they'll probably wants to tackle issues around employment - there's a lot of unemployment in the area. Compared to a lot of areas there's also a lot of rubbish and mess.

"Ultimately, it equips young people with skills. Instead of leaving it to other people they'll be able to challenge things themselves and take control."

The programme will start in October but young people can apply online now.

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