Thales goes ‘outward bound’ with apprenticeship programme

outward bound trust logo

Apprenticeships are becoming increasingly important, particularly with university tuition fees ballooning and declining applications. As a result, organisations like us need to look for alternative ways to discover and nurture future talent. With this in mind, we’ve launched an apprenticeship programme in conjunction with The Outward Bound Trust, which aims to take apprentices out of their comfort zone and into their stretch zone.

The first part of the programme will take place 11th–15th November at Outward Bound Eskdale in the Lake District. Twenty apprentices from the rail business and aerospace Advance Modern Apprenticeship programme, which are on a two year course, will participate, joined later in the week by a small group from the Futures Leader Programme, who will provide apprentices with feedback and advice. The second part of the programme will take place in 2014.

The first part of the programme will focus on developing personal awareness and the apprentices’ team working skills. The second will concentrate on leadership skills and raising the apprentices’ aspirations, as they move into full-time positions within Thales.

The purpose of the programme is to improve performance in the workplace by enhancing the apprentices’ personal and team skills, with a specific focus on building a support network with peers. By the end of the programme – which includes many outdoor activities too, such as a mountain rescue exercise and self-lead wilderness experience – the apprentices will have developed a range of invaluable skills to support them through their career at Thales and beyond.

“Ultimately, we want apprentices from across Thales to come together and create their own network, which can support them with peer-to-peer learning now and in the future,” said Nick Jordan, Learning & Development Consultant, Thales. “We have apprentices spread across the country, from Belfast to Crawley, and we want them to talk and learn from each other. Often they’ll experience the same challenges and successes, so by having a network in place, at the start of their career, they can share those experiences and learn together as they progress in their chosen careers.”

This is a first for Thales and will become an annual part of the apprenticeship scheme, “We want to take our apprentices out of their comfort zone because if they stay in their comfort zone, they’ll never really develop. We want to provide them with the opportunity to discover and develop new skills, which they aren’t aware they have,” concluded Jordan.

For more information about the programme, read our interview with the Outward Bound Trust in the second issue of Enhance.