England cricketer Jimmy Anderson spent Tuesday at Bedford Academy to encourage students to sign up for the National Citizen Service.
The NCS is a scheme for 16 to 17-year-olds to develop life skills and experience for work through tackling outdoor challenges and social action projects.
Fresh from a series win in South Africa, Anderson – who has the most Test wickets of any England bowler in history – gave an inspirational talk to around 300 students about their futures.
Anderson, who is an ambassador for Activate, who deliver the National Citizen Service to youngsters from Bedfordshire, said: “From my time in cricket, something that’s really helped me is being part of a team and learning your role in a team is really important.
“It does teach you life skills as well and I think NCS will give young people that opportunity to learn new skills.”
Anderson took some time to bowl a few balls to some of the elite cricketers at Bedford Academy, including Ravi Galsin, who is currently signed up to the youth county squad. He was the first to use the school’s brand new astroturf wicket.
Ravi said: “It was great, it was amazing how he gets the bounce and the swing away from you.”
Anderon’s visit came as Reed in Partnership launched a new report on Young People and Employment based on a major survey which shows that 63 per cent of young people identify a lack of experience as the main barrier to finding work.
At the same time, the survey finds that 96 per cent of employers said that mindset, more than skills, was the key element in those they seek to recruit and then retain.
NCS helps young people overcome these barriers by providing them with a platform to work with local employers and charities.
Throughout the programme they are encouraged to develop their teamwork, leadership and communication skills through a range of tasks.
Oliver Uffindall from Activate, said: “It was brilliant to see the enthusiasm and excitement on the faces of the young men and women.”
For more information and to sign up for NCS, visit www.ncseast.co.uk.