Vorsprung durch adventure
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Vorsprung durch adventure

Jack came to Outward Bound as part of his apprenticeship with Audi UK and the Volkswagen Group Apprenticeship Scheme. Here's his story...

Hi there, my name is Jack and I am an apprentice technician at Birmingham Audi. Currently I am level 2 qualified in my eighth week of training at the Volkswagen National Learning Centre. My ambition is to reach master technician level within four years of qualifying.

I am here today to write about my brilliant yet hard working week up at The Outward Bound Trust centre alongside the beautiful Ullswater. Before we can qualify, every apprentice completes this week to show that they have the skills and knowledge about how our individual dealership runs as a day to day business and not only to understand these processes but learn to apply them successfully.

Our course outlines the links between group cooperation and how this can reflect in the workplace. Throughout the whole week from the moment we stepped foot through the front door on Monday morning, jobs roles were given out, certain tasks were manned and challenges were set. Even time slots for our own relaxation and eating were monitored to reflect the reality within the workshop in order to provide the best customer service and satisfaction you can possibly create. On day one of our five day experience we had a few team building activities and other assignments to let us get a feel for our group and weeks schedule.

These challenges were set to help get us to know one another on our first initial greeting, this can strongly affect the way our group can perform during the week, good communication and problem solving skills can be reflected back toward our work place throughout each day from big jobs to the smaller tasks that much be taken out.

Tuesday – the big climb

On our second day we planned a route to hike up Place Fell. Before we started on our quest up the mountain we were required to carry out planning and packing the evening before. The mountain climb was a thrill and something I have never done before. Throughout the whole climb we faced challenges we all had to tackle, challenges of mental strength and physical ability. The best part was the celebration as we reached the peak at 657m above sea level. The whole team made it to the peak and did an amazing job throughout the whole climb. Throughout Tuesday evening we as a team planned our day out cave walking to allow us to get ahead and allowing more time for preparation on the Wednesday morning.

We then we sent our own ways around 9pm for our own time and relaxing. We had many things we could do such as go for a walk around the scenic grounds, or venture to the games room to play some pool or loiter around the entrance trying to receive signal/ wifi connection!!

Wednesday – caving

We travelled to Alum Pot in the Yorkshire Dales and were asked to treat our day caving as if we were at work, with our facilitator and guides acting as customers. We needed to provide things such as good service, show good communication skills, set time schedules to be meeting at certain points of the service and also to smile and help them have the best experience possible.

Throughout the caves we faced challenges such as tight gaps to crawl through such as the “Cheese Press” and “Small Intestines” which I’m sure your imagination will figure out for you. 50 minutes later we could start to see sun light, but it wasn’t a mirage, we all made it to the finish greeted by our guides with smiles who said “great job, now the same again” except with the guides being the customers. We set back off to give our customers the best service and journey they could ask for, boosting moral and helping get good customer feedback from customer satisfaction. One of my favourite parts was the fun and excitement that was involved in battling through the heavy stream created by the rainy weather prior, but overall this was a brilliant day.

Thursday – orienteering and raft building

Today was different, we were independent and had an orienteering task in the hills to complete to raise ‘funds’ for a raft building task. We had until late Wednesday night to prepare and present our planning. Each of us could not cover all of the orienteering checkpoints so we had to methodically think of a way to reach as many as we could in the time provided. This is a great example of ‘eating elephants’ – where anything is possible if you split it up into smaller tasks.

Each checkpoint meant more money towards building our raft but every part of our raft cost so we had to earn enough not to lose too much money to not make a profit. After raising our funds we were given 30 minutes to build our raft. We got penalised for every minute over the allocated time to replicate similar scenarios that would happen in the work place, giving a sense of urgency.

Once our raft was built we carried it up to the water’s edge and got ready for our launch. Ready steady GO! they shouted and we all burst into life paddling over the 1km stretch of windy, cold water. We all gave full effort seeing the Outward Bound centre getting closer and closer, every stroke counted and we had the lead, half way mark and we still have the lead then a gust of wind sends us off track! Blast! We had some catching up to do but clearly too much – a battle lost for our team but our team work and spirit won in the end. We had the most points plus the least penalties therefore we took a victory home!

Friday – conclusion

Sadly Friday came along ever so fast, a whole week of hard work, commitment and success came to an end. However it was not over yet, we had to produce a creative yet formal presentation to present to our fellow colleagues, facilitators and Audi UK employees. We used Thursday night to hit it hard coming up with a presentation hoping to impress the judges!

At 9am we were all eager to show off what we had learnt during the week and skills we have obtained. Overall all four of our groups did an amazing job with our week up in Ullswater, all tasks were completed, mountain climbing to crawling down into caves. The week was a thrill for me, as I live in a city, the land and exploration was new to me and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

We learnt many different skills and throughout the week the course was very well linked and cross referenced to our average work day. The Outward Bound team did an outstanding job of teaching us the qualities that we can now show off in the workplace and use to our best knowledge for the further improvement of each workplace throughout the country. Each day was successfully linked into our work place with cross references, we had role playing with guides acting as customers and also tasks we had to do that had very close and similar structure to the service sheet we see every day.

Thank you for reading my blog. I hope you can see we have all learnt something during the week no matter how big or small, we have all taken something positive back to our dealerships.

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