Each year, the engineering apprentices at Royal Mail enjoy a five-day residential trip to the Anderton Centre.
The tradition began back in 2011, and every Autumn since, the new wave of apprentices take part in team building exercises and personal challenges over the week. This culminates in a big, group activity where the apprentices put everything they’ve learned into one challenge.
Darren Borthwick, the National Engineering Apprenticeship Programme Manager, has been sending his teams of between 12 to 20 people to the Anderton Centre each year to bring together the new recruits, and see how they deal with pressure.
“It allows us to see a different side of the apprentices. If someone is struggling because they are, say, scared of heights, we get to see who goes and helps their fellow teammate.”
However, Darren’s teams usually throw themselves into any challenge that they’re faced with at the Anderton Centre.
Each year, the activities differ as the Anderton Centre like to create bespoke packages for the clients – which, Darren says, is one of the reasons they keep coming back.
During this year’s visit, it was apprentice Charlies’ birthday – and it was up to his colleagues to save his birthday as part of the group challenge.
Darren said: “It was Charlie’s birthday on the last full day at the Anderton Centre. They bought him a cake and some fizzy drinks – but we had to work as a team to get them. The staff put the birthday supplies on a paddleboard in the middle of the lake, and we had to complete mini team-building exercises in order to build a raft and sail to ‘save’ the supplies!
“It was extra special, because the instructors couldn’t have known about Charlie’s birthday until after they arrived for their residential trip. It goes to show how the Anderton Centre will go above and beyond to ensure you get the best experience.”
Usually, the new Royal Mail apprentice teams are formed from across the UK: Inverness, Belfast, Kent – and each year they travel to the Anderton Centre in Chorley.
Darren said the staff were one of the main reasons they continue to choose the Anderton Centre: “The staff here are brilliant. We’ve been coming for years, and even if there’s been new staff added to the team there’s always been consistency with the instructors. The packages are flexible and always catered to your needs, and they can get any of the apprentices who might be lacking confidence to thrive. We always get great feedback from the apprentices who go each year”.