Going ‘Outward Bound’ again – Thales apprentices head to the Lake District


Last November, in collaboration with the Outward Bound Trust, I took 20 Thales apprentices to the Lake District in order to help them develop their personal and team skills, enhance their performance in the workplace, and provide them with an opportunity to build a support network with their peers. The programme was a huge success, and a lot of fun. One of the apprentices, Bradley, said he learnt more on the programme than he ever did at college. For me, that comment summarises what the whole programme is about – impactful learning in a completely different environment than the apprentices are used to, giving them the skills that don’t necessarily come naturally in their roles.

Some of the other comments we had were fantastic, too: “The activities helped me develop confidence in a leading role,” said Christopher, one of the 20 apprentices. “Everything I learnt has been used back in the workplace.”

Declan, one of the other apprentices, said: “I learnt that everyone has their own unique skillset and specialism that can be applied to different situations.

“I enjoyed the evenings, too,” he added. “We got to network and to talk to people about their roles in the company, and hear about their different skills and experiences.”

William, another apprentice, added: “This programme shows that Thales is taking its apprentices seriously. It has really increased my enthusiasm and made me want to give even more to the business.”

Next week, I’ll be taking a new group of apprentices – 18 of them this time – back to the Lake District to run through the programme again. Given how well it went last year, I can’t wait to get up there and get started. It’s so rewarding being able to do something like this and to see the genuine impact it has on the young people involved. Not only does it enable them to develop valuable skills and traits – such as trust, confidence and teamwork – that they can take back to the workplace, it also breaks down barriers and encourages them to believe that they are capable of leadership. They are able to connect with their fellow apprentices, too – something which would have been very difficult without the programme.

Some of the activities we’ve got lined up this time – weather permitting – include a mountain rescue exercise, a Tyrolean traverse across a 150ft gorge, a self-led wilderness experience and lots more. As before, we’re really putting these guys through their paces.

Christopher – one of the five who opted for an early-morning wakeup call which involved jumping into a lake at 7:30am – can certainly testify to that: “Very cold is an understatement!”

Keep your eyes on our social media channels and this blog throughout next week – we’ll be posting updates and pictures along the way. Fingers crossed for sunny weather!

Nick has spent many years in both commercial management and L&D roles – designing, developing and delivering regional and national training programmes across the entire training cycle – with experience spanning  management development, customer service, HR training and team development, across the retail, facilities management and engineering industries and in both public and private sectors. Click here to read Nick’s full profile.

For more information about our work with the Outward Bound Trust, read the second issue of Enhance, our free L&D magazine published every two months.