The Apprentices

Government figures published in March 2016 showed “a dramatic increase” in the number of higher apprenticeships. Quest is pleased to work with a number of organisations which run growing apprenticeship schemes and last autumn delivered an Apprentice Team Development programme for the fifth consecutive year.


The client has a number of key objectives when putting their new Apprentices through a development programme, and especially the two day off-site which starts the whole process.

Forming a support network: The off-site enables the Apprentices to learn about themselves and their Apprentice colleagues via personality profiling. That and the experiential activities play a large part in helping the Apprentices build their own team from which they can receive support as they integrate into the far bigger workplace and overall client teams.

Exposure to deadlines and pressure:  The two day off-site that takes place shortly after their start date immediately places a range of time critical demands on the Apprentices, but in a neutral environment.

Building trust: The overall programme, and especially the off-site creates many situations where the Apprentices quickly learn how important it is for their colleagues to be able to trust them, and what is required for them to start and build trust in their fellow Apprentices.

Off-Site Activities

The off-site aims to fulfil all of these objectives and many more, via a very wide range of activities. The Apprentices were told well in advance what to bring, that they would be both indoors and outside in a rural environment, and that they would get wet and work at height. As the off-site unfolded they took part in a highly structured event that resulted in them competing in small teams. Day one started with the Apprentices doing some off-road biking and trail running, (accompanied by some highly experienced Adventure Racer facilitators), around a course that they had to navigate. The run/bike finished at a Cotswold Waterparks lake where the competition continued in sit-on-top kayaks, before moving next door to one of the country’s finest high-ropes courses. Phew! What a morning.

The first part of the afternoon had the Apprentices competing again, but on a series of engineering based tasks, and the time pressure element was further heightened. Time management, effective planning and role allocation are three areas that needed to be worked at especially to ensure success.

The second part of the afternoon and early evening saw the Apprentices bounced with a real surprise task. They were told that dinner would be at 7pm. What they were not told until 4pm was that they had to cook it themselves! They were supplied with all the food and ingredients required to cook a three course supper for themselves and the facilitation team. Fully self-contained kitchens were ready and waiting and they were then introduced to the Quest Chef who guided them through the task, but did not cook for them!

Day two started with a wide ranging review and self-led-reflection workshop session to analyse what they had done, how they had performed and crucially what they had learned about themselves and their colleagues the previous day. That was then followed by the final experiential exercise of the off-site, a total break from all that had gone on the day before. The brief was to prepare, rehearse and deliver a tightly time-bound news and current-affairs TV show in front of live cameras.


As expected, the Apprentices found the experience to have been highly-beneficial and enjoyable. They were surprised by the intensity of the two days, but fully acknowledged that they had been placed in a number of high pressure situations. The neutrality provided by being removed from the workplace meant that they felt able to push themselves, try out new approaches and methods and challenge themselves and their colleagues in a safe environment.


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