Every 16-year-old will be expected to devote their summer holiday to “patriotic” national service under radical Tory plans to be unveiled today. They will give up six weeks to put something back into Britain. David Cameron will launch his plan for a National Citizen Service with boxing champ Amir Khan. Youngsters going into adulthood will be able to take part in a mini triathlon, military training or the Three Peaks Challenge. Others will get the chance to work with old folk, charities and even travel overseas helping Third World countries.
Mr Cameron exclusively told The Sun: “This will make people feel proud about themselves and about their country. “It will mix people from different backgrounds.
“North and south, black and white, rich and poor. They will be putting something back into the community. “It will be a way of learning respect for our country and each other, just like national service was. “This could really change our country for the better. “I feel very passionate about this. It should be a part of every child’s
experience. “You should go from primary school to secondary and then at 16 your citizen service. We cannot afford not to do this.” Teenagers will NOT be forced by law to take part in the NCS. Experts say that would be the wrong way to encourage the 650,000 16-year-olds each year to participate. Instead, they say the scheme should become so attractive it will become a natural part of growing up.
Employers will take note of those who include NCS work on their CV. Students will qualify for a cash award on completing their course. Half of it will go to the organisation with which they worked. The other 50 per cent will be donated to a charity of the individual’s choice. They will only complete the course after making a personal appearance in front of organisers. During this they must pledge allegiance to Britain, say what they have learned and declare which charity they have chosen
and why. Tories say the scheme will help foster a “can do” spirit and boost
their chances of a job. It will increase self-confidence and help “drifters”
gain a sense of focus. Teens will be able to go to Third World nations to work on projects. Bookish swots will be shown there is more to life than just exams. And those in danger of turning to crime will learn to respect others and their communities.
Youngsters who finish the course will attend a “graduation ceremony” with their family and friends.
A document published today by the Tories says: “Whether individuals are leaving school, moving on from their GCSEs to another qualification, or have dropped out of the system altogether, our national programme would take them out of their comfort zones, provide them with a chance to mix with others away from home. “It will give
them a challenging mission to fulfil and enable them to be stretched in an environment they would never, otherwise, have encountered. In the middle of the
last century National Service helped prepare young people for adult life, as
well as bringing Britain together in one shared, classless, patriotic mission.”
Thursday, September 06, 2007
A Tory Policy Everyone Can Unite Behind
David Cameron has got the best coverage in The Sun this morning that he has had since he bcame Party leader. The Sun highlights Cameron's excellent policy idea of encouraging 16 year olds to take part in a six week stint of 'national' service. It's not a stunt and it's extremely well thought out, as the article clearly demonstrates.
Now, just watch as Gordon Brown steals the policy in his usual magpie-like fashion.
UPDATE: Just heard a fantastic 30 minute discussion on this with Michael Gove and youth workers who reckoned that the Tories were onto something.