Vorsprung durch Abenteuer: Advancement through Adventure

Audi Blog 1Jack is an apprentice on the Volkswagen Group Apprenticeship Scheme who works for Audi UK. The Outward Bound Trust deliver a five day experiential programme as part of this scheme. Jack chose to write a blog about his experience and we hope you will enjoy reading it…

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.

This is my story about my brilliant yet hard working week with The Outward Bound Trust. 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 in the Lake District 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.

Tuesday – the big climb

On our second day we planned a route to hike up Place Fell. 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.

Audi Blog 2Wednesday – 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 Trust 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 – conclusionAudi Blog 3

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. We all did a smashing job with few mistakes as did the other groups.

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.

On behalf of all four groups and apprentices throughout the country I would like to thank Lisa Halsall (People Development Support Manager, Audi UK) for watching over our presentation, all the staff from The Outward Bound Trust for their expertise, time and effort. We have all learnt something during the week no matter how big or small, we have all taken something positive back to our dealerships.

You can download and read Jack's full blog here.