David Cameron reveals what his first job will be after life in politics

Former PM to lead expansion of National Citizen Service, calling it 'the Big Society in action'

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Indy Politics

David Cameron is to oversee the expansion of the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme he set up during his time as Prime Minister, in his first role after stepping down as an MP.

Mr Cameron said the NCS was "one of [his] proudest achievements" in six years as PM - and it is one of the few that has not been torn up by his successor, Theresa May.

More than 275,000 teenagers have taken part in the programme since it was launched in 2011, and on Wednesday the Government was poised to introduce a National Citizen Service Bill to create a Royal Charter and make the NCS a permanent public institution.

Open to 15 to 17-year-olds, NCS involves a residential programme including outdoors activities like hiking and abseiling, followed by a "Dragon's Den" style pitch where teenagers work together in teams to present a volunteering project to help their local community.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Cameron said the programme was "the Big Society in action", and that he would work as chairman of NCS Patrons to make it available to every young person in Britain.

He said the NCS helps young people build "soft skills, the resilience, the self-confidence and the creativity that can help them get on in life". "These are vital life skills – and they shouldn’t be the preserve of a privileged few," he added.

Mr Cameron resigned as Prime Minister in the wake of the EU referendum, in which he had unsuccessfully campaigned for Britain to remain in the bloc.

He stayed as a backbench MP for a few months, before stepping down in September.

Some suggested Mr Cameron was unable to stick around while Ms May undid his legacy of liberal conservatism, overturning his opposition to new grammar schools and appointing the long-time critic of international aid spending Priti Patel as Secretary of State for International Development.

And Mr Cameron admitted that was a factor, saying: "Obviously I have my own views about certain issues. People know that. That’s really the point... I don’t want to be that distraction."

But on Wednesday, Mr Cameron said he was "delighted that Theresa May is continuing the vital work to support NCS".

"With cross-party support, this will create a Royal Charter to secure the NCS Trust as a permanent national institution that can ultimately offer a place to every 16- and 17-year-old," he said. 

"That should be our goal – not necessarily a compulsory programme, but one that is universally available and becomes a normal part of growing up for every teenager."