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Bri-Stor Apprenticeships week of Team Building

Apprentices 1

On the 3rd of April, a group of 22 Bri-Stor Group Apprentices set off to Elan Valley, Powys in mid-Wales for a week of intensive team building exercises, culminating in a local community project. Having completed the week, studying various aspects of team working and exceeding their own expectations, the team recap the week in their own words:

Day 1 - Arrival
The group depart from the Bri-Stor Group site in Hixon at 7.00am and arrive in the Welsh Valleys around 10am. After an introduction to the Elan Valley Lodge and the training team, the group split into three teams to begin the first teambuilding activities of the week.

Number Square:
"For this challenge, there were numbers within a square which each had to be touched by a member of our team in a set time. This challenge required quick reactions, good observation and a clear plan.
The hardest part of this challenge was making sure that each person knew what they had to touch and did it correctly. If one person didn't touch a number properly, the team failed.
As a team, we were effective at coming up with a plan and then practicing it over and over to get our time down.
From this challenge, our team learned that it's important for each member to understand their role and pay attention to what other members are doing. This allowed us to work quickly and steadily improve our time." (Owen Jones, Alpha Apprentice)

Other tasks from day one included Tower Building and the Apprentices been blindfolded where communication was the key to succeed.

Day 1

Day 2 – Challenge & Support
The group meet after breakfast at 8am to discuss the importance of communication within a team, particularly when facing a new or difficult challenge (being out of the comfort zone). They then set off, along with the training and mentors to put this into practice:

Canoeing:
"We had to work effectively together as a team to row out to the middle of the reservoir. This task could only be completed efficiently with good communication and teamwork.
Communicating direction between the canoe was quite difficult due to the direction inversion. It was also challenging getting people to row in synchronisation. If this was not completed then it was very difficult to be efficient.
We completed the challenge rather well, however another team had trouble getting to the middle.
Working in synchronisation with the other members in your canoe as if you worked efficiently as a team while rowing then it propelled the boat further and for longer saving energy. Also, communication was improved as we had to all shout 'row' as we needed to all row at the same time." (Faisal Kahn, Alpha Manufacturing)

Day 2 also included a high ropes course which certainly tested the fellowship of each participant. Balance, interaction and most importantly encouragement from others was paramount to complete this task.

Day 2

Day 3 – Team Challenge
A range of outdoor activities test the group's ability to communicate, problem solve and split their resources effectively in order to complete a large challenge. The aim of the day is to earn "money" by completing various tasks in order to purchase a team prize at the end of the day.

Raft Building:
"The aim of the task was to get to a buoy in the middle of the lake by making a raft out of wooden poles and barrels, the first thing we did was to design the raft. We created a square frame and attached the barrels using straps. The hardest part was putting 3 barrels in a row because we first made it to fit 2 barrels then we realised that fitting 6 people instead of 4 would be more efficient so we fitted 6 barrels so they could fit.

As a team, we were strongest at making the raft safe so it would not fall apart, we felt so strongly about this aspect of the raft that we all had the confidence to stand up and pose for pictures on the return trip from the buoy. We felt that the teamwork improved the ability to share skills with each other, for example a square lashing was used to fasten the six logs together however at the beginning of the task a large number of the team were unaware of how to do this lashing.

We learned that it is important to be flexible with a plan in order to make things work or even work better. For example, we improved on the original design which originally would have only taken four people across. The new design allowed 6 people to go." (Josh Frost, Bri-Stor Apprentice)

Kayaking and Leep of Faith also took place on day 3. One of the biggest challenges on day 3 was learning to trust their team mates.

Day 3

Day 4 – Community Project
At the end of day three, the group visited a local community Nursery in nearby Rayhader where they surveyed a play area in need of renovation, meeting with the nursery manager and local charity co-ordinator who briefed them on the project. The apprentices then worked late into the evening planning the project, dividing out resources and organising themselves into teams, each tasked with different areas of the playground. On day four the team arrived at the Rayhader Nursery at 9am to begin their work.

Having never done anything like this before it soon became apparent that refurbishing a toddlers play area to make it both enjoyable and a safe environment was going to be a thought-provoking task. All of the Apprentices had different roles to adhere to with a project manager keeping everyone on task and team leaders managing a further 6 colleagues. 
The result ended in a refurbed sand pit, a child’s workable play kitchen, newly painted fences, painted mushroom stools and a general tidy up of the garden area.

The Bri-Stor Group are very proud of their Apprentices and what they achieved over the week.

Day 4