From education to employment

Outdoor learning experiences aren’t just for kids – they’re great for the workplace too

Training and Development Manager Richard Thomas

Managers need to encourage their staff find their inner child to help take their businesses to the next level.

This is the message from national training-and-skills company Skern Lodge, which is encouraging companies to think about how their workforce might benefit from exciting meaningful outdoor challenges.

Training and Development Manager Richard Thomas said that not only are these challenges a great way to have shared experiences in a fun environment, but they can also teach individuals a great deal about themselves, help them think creatively and take new or forgotten about skills back to the workplace.

Richard added:

“Many schools and groups come to outdoor activity centres for day trips or residentials because they understand there is a huge benefit for children to be learning under conditions which simply can’t be taught in a classroom.

“They come here to help children build on their confidence or develop teamworking and leadership skills, but everyone can brush up on these skills from time to time and it is important for businesses to realise that their team can get so much out of an outdoor learning adventure too.”

Management and leadership are also skills that needs to be learnt. Through the right level of challenge, by taking part in activities such as climbing, archery and problem-solving tasks, individuals are pushed to their full potential without even realising.

Richard said:

“Sometimes they may not get a task right, but that’s OK. The aim is to encourage them to become more resilient, build a supportive team environment and facilitate feedback which gives people the chance to grow and apply this new knowledge back at work.

“This is particularly beneficial when developing a future management team, or bringing new groups of people together to collaborate on a new project, as a shared experience such as this can really help to forge good working relationships.”

However, Skern Lodge realises that individuals and businesses are different and development is not a ‘one size fits all’. That is why it specialises in designing and building bespoke programmes based on business and individual needs to ensure success of the learning and development experience.

It does this through the use of outdoor activities at its sites in North Devon, North Wales, South Yorkshire, Northumberland, the Isle of Wight, Kent, North Norfolk, South Yorkshire and West Midlands.

Richard also said that Skern Lodge’s 44 years of co-designing programmes with employers and employees has given him and his team a great insight into how people work together effectively and stay motivated.

He added:

“We understand that teams can take a while to form before they begin to perform effectively. Identifying where strengths lie and helping to address any issues, can help to focus groups on their collective goal and provide a springboard for better working relationships in the future.”

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