The Challenge

The Challenge

At a glance


  • Training / employment support
  • Young people

Other details

Geographical remit: 
National - Britain


The Challenge is a fast-growing social enterprise and the UK's leading charity for building a more integrated society. We work on a local level to connect people together across all ages and walks of life.

We are proud to live in a country with a rich mix of different ages, cultures and backgrounds. Unfortunately, instead of valuing these differences, our society  often lets them divide us. We know that many of us feel disconnected from each other and do not always understand or trust people who are different from us.

The NCS programme is a life-changing initiative that brings together 15 to 17 year old’s from different backgrounds. It aims to build their confidence, and to inspire and challenge them to make a difference in their local community. In summer 2016, 38,000 young people across London, Surrey, Berkshire, the West Midlands, Yorkshire and the North West will take part in NCS with The Challenge for an intensive three to four week summer programme.

The programme is part of the National Citizen Service (NCS) and it aims to provide young people with the opportunity to complete personal and team challenges, meet new people and give something back to their communities. NCS promotes:

  • a more cohesive society by mixing participants from different backgrounds;
  • a more responsible society by supporting young people’s transition into adulthood;
  • a more engaged society by enabling young people to work together to create social action projects in their local communities.

This is achieved through the programme by completing several different challenge phases:

  • NCS Personal Challenge: Socially mixed teams of young people bond through a week of challenging outdoor activities.
  • NCS Team Challenge: Teams return home and use their skills to experience serving the local community.
  • NCS Real Challenge Design: Teams design a social action project to roll out in their local communities.
  • NCS Real Challenge Action: The young people take their social action projects to the streets and campaign with the general public.

By taking part, young people learn new skills and have a great experience that can be referenced in their CVs or in further education applications and all young people who complete NCS with The Challenge graduate from our programme and are signposted into year-round volunteering, membership and social engagement opportunities through The Challenge.

The Challenge are looking to employ over 4,500 people to work on this year’s NCS programme. We have a range of roles that are suitable to people of all abilities and experiences.


NCS Programme: A government-backed programme involving personal development, teamwork and social action.

HeadStart Programme: A programme rewarding young people who volunteer in their communities with job opportunities.

StepForward: A school-leavers' programme providing a year in industry and skills training.

Throughout 2014 and early 2015, The Challenge provided the secretariat to The Social Integration Commission.

This Commission, which was chaired by RSA Chief Executive Matthew Taylor, sought to explore some fundamental questions about how people from different ethnic, age and income groups relate to one another in modern Britain. It also made a series of practical recommendations as to what government, businesses, civil society organisations and individuals could do to create a more integrated and socially cohesive society. Read more about the Commission’s work here.

No current opportunities

Search for volunteer opportunities with other organisations.