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PERSONAL LEARNING AND THINKING SKILLS IN THE OUTDOORS
PDS / O2 | PLTS AND OUTDOOR DEVELOPMENT
SNOWDONIA | OCTOBER 2010


After a one day workshop introducing O2's latest intake of apprentices to the Personal Learning and Thinking Skills framework, we took them to Snowdonia for a week of personal development.

Abseiling, climbing, navigating, canoeing and pontoon building all provided material for discussion and a background for exploring the PLTS. Producing a substantial workbook with thoughts, reflections, questionnaires, photos and drawings, the apprentices used the last morning to draw it all into a six month action plan and returned to the workplace keen to try out their new learning.

"An extremely valuble way to learn vital lessons about ourselves and each other"

"I didn't expect it to be so much fun!"

LEADERSHIP IN THE FAST FOOD SECTOR
MCDONALDS | LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL ASSESSMENT
NEW FOREST | OCTOBER 2010

McDonald's have a very systematic approach to business, with managers using flowcharts, lists and logbooks to make decisions and record information. However beyond the shift manager level they need staff who can think outside of these constraints.

Totem devised a one-day leadership potential assessment which produces a report on each candidate, based on their performance during a series of challenging outdoor tasks. The participant's made a film, cooked burgers on an open fire, discovered hidden parts of the New Forest and built themselves a crane!

"Very enjoyable and informative, the analysis and feedback were very helpful"

A WORKBOOK FOR CAPTURING EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING
PDS | PERSONAL LEARNING AND THINKING SKILLS WORKBOOK
CONSULTANCY | SEPTEMBER 2010

The governement recently changed the nation-wide Apprenticeship framework, removing the Key Skills and replacing them with the Personal Learning and Thinking Skills.

Having worked with Totem on delivering the Key Skills through outdoor learning, PDS asked us to reframe the outdoor learning we had in place around the PLTS. Using the QCA specification as a starting point, we developed a loose-leaf workbook which helps apprentices capture experiential learning through disucssion and reflection and turn it into a useful action plan.

A CAREER ON THE RAILWAYS
NETWORK RAIL / CALL OF THE WILD | APPRENTICE INDUCTION
PORTSMOUTH | SEPTEMBER 2010

Network Rail's apprentices spend their first year living on a Naval base in shared accomodation so getting to know each other and team work is essential. Like last year, Call of the Wild created a two day self discovery course designed to allow the apprentices get to know themselves and each other and Totem staff went along to help.

Using experiential learning and facilitated session, the apprentices learnt about DISC, Tuckman, Perception and took part in a series of challenges, all cumulating in the SuperTeams event.

D CAMP
BRYANSTON SCHOOL | D-CAMP
NEW FOREST | JULY 2010

More than 120 pupils from Year 'D' at Bryanston School set off into the New Forest for two days, learning to navigate and searching for clues and puzzles on the way. An overnight camp allowed the opportunity to play team games and to learn camp craft, as well a tolerance of those in the same tent!

BASIC EXPEDITION LEADER AWARD
CAMPION COLLEGE | AWARD IN BASIC EXPEDITION LEADERSHIP
EPPING FOREST | JUNE 2010


Outer Limits Explore have been training students from Campion College for their BELA (or ABEL). The BELA is an expedition leadership award which allows the holder to take small groups of people into gentle countryside and hills and to teach them expedition techniques.

They needed two independent assessors to carry out the final assessment so Totem headed off to the well known wilderness of Essex to oblige. Epping Forest was a new area for us and we were pleasantly surprised by how green and lush it was.

TWO DAYS IN THE WATER
DULWICH COLLEGE | COASTEERING AND GORGE WALKING
SNOWDONIA | MAY 2010

Working at short notice for Boulder Adventures, we spent two days in the water, one fresh and one salty. A trip up the ever popular Afon Ddu gorge on the first day which, despite the low water level, left all the participants soaked to the skin. Luckily it was a warm day and they dried off quickly enough!

The second day was spent Coasteering at Nefyn on the Lleyn Peninsula. Accompanied by seals we rode the tidal rips, scrambled along steep cliffs, plunged into the sea, swam to islands and, for the bravest, jumped 8m into a narrow zawn.

SKILLS FOR LIFE
MCOA | SHELL LIFE SKILLS WEEK
SOUTH WALES | MAY 2010

Every year Marlborough College take the 180 students that make up their youngest year to the Brecon Beacons for a week of outdoor activities to help them develop their life skills. It's an impressive endeavour that involves 15 minibuses, 9 bunkhouses, a few tons of equipment and over 50 staff!

Our staff have been involved with life skills week for more than six years and were proud to be involved again this year. Activities we guided the young people through included rock climbing, caving and canoeing, as well as a two day hill walking expedition. The week was capped by a frenetic session packing is as much as we could at the Llangorse Ropes Centre.

Blessed with amazing weather all week, the rain started only as we drove back in through the school gates!

MAKING LEADERSHIP TRACKS
NETWORK RAIL / CALL OF THE WILD | ILM LEVEL 3 LEADERSHIP TRAINING
PLYMOUTH / DARTMOOR | APRIL TO MAY 2010


Working for Call of the Wild, who were working for VT, who in turn were working for Network Rail, we spent five weeks at HMS Raleigh in Plymouth delivering ILM Level 3 Leadership to Network Rail apprentices.

In a busy week, the apprentices played with giant meccano, metaphorically carried eggs across the Lake District, spent twenty four hours out on Dartmoor, most of them awake, learnt to fight fires on ships and finally experienced what it is like to be trying to save a sinking ship with only wooden wedges!

By capturing learning in a portfolio as they went along, the apprentices built up evidence that they were at the Level 3 standard and most left with this prestigious award.

DUKE OF EDINBURGHS AWARD BRONZE
MARLBOROUGH COLLEGE | BRONZE DUKE OF EDINBURGH'S AWARD
WILTSHIRE / NEW FOREST | JANUARY TO MAY 2010

Short staffed for the term, Marlborough College asked Totem to manage their Duke of Edinburgh Award programme. We created and delivered an 8 week programme designed to train thirty 13 year old pupils to the standard required for their Bronze expedition, with the emphasis on as much practical learning as possible.

We then put on a 2 day expedition in the New Forest for sixty pupils, assessing their navigation, team work and camp skills. Eight routes wound their way across the national park and a team of staff monitored the groups progress and ensured they were safe. All bar two pupils passed, and you'll have to ask them why they didn't!

GUINNESS PARTNERSHIP
GUINNESS PARTNERSHIP | STAR CHALLENGE
SWINDON | FEBRUARY 2010

Keeping young people occupied during the school holidays is always a challenge. The Guinness Partnership approached Totem and asked for an event for 25-30 young people aged 6-18. With such a large age range we had a good long think and came up with the Star Challenge.

Mixing orienteering and mental puzzles, the teams ran backwards and forwards across the primary school we were based at, trying to be as fast, and as accurate as possible.

After 90 breathless minutes, exhausted children and supervisors collapsed with a drink and prizes were awarded to the winners.

VESTAS | PROFILES AND TEAM DYNAMICS
WINCHESTER | FEBRUARY 2010


After their previous teams had been merged, seventeen members of the Global Research section at Vestas Wind Systems came together for the first time in Winchester. Using the Insight's Discovery tool, they looked at both themselves and the team as a whole and developed strategies for dealing with different personality types.

The brightly coloured wheel of Discovery proved to be a great tool for looking at a whole host of topics such as self perception, adapting and connecting, group problem solving and team dynamics. The bright stress blocks that provide a useful reminder of the course are sitting proudly on desks as we speak!

"Thought provoking and definitely team building!"

"The best thing about the course was the presentation and knowledge of those delivering it."

SUN SNOW AND HOT CHOCOLATE
MCOA | OVERNIGHT ADVENTURE
BRECON BEACONS | JANUARY 2010

13 girls aged 13-14 from Marlborough College joined us on a trip to the Brecon Beacons, designed as a low-impact introduction to outdoor life. After a night sharing dorms in a cosy bunkhouse, they cooked a full breakfast before we headed out on an adventure

Abandoning the minibus when the road got too icy to drive, we set of on foot, following a small stream that cascaded down beautiful waterfalls. On the way we played games and took on team challenges. Once we reached the snow-line more than one snowball was thrown and we waded through the knee deep snow. Finally reaching the shelter of some woods, we made hot chocolate on stoves, complete with whipped cream and marshmallows and walked the final distance back to bus.

"[We] had a really great time and have lots of stories to tell."

SWINDON COLLEGE MOTIVATION WEEK
INNER FLAME | SWINDON COLLEGE MOTIVATION WEEK
SWINDON | JANUARY 2010


Inner Flame asked Totem to develop a series of team challenges for young people aged 14-19 which could be taken into colleges and schools and used to develop inter-personal skills.

The first few of these sessions were during Swindon College Motivation Week and students om courses as diverse as Beauty Therapy, Media and Outdoor Education found themselves tightrope walking, doing high speed plumbing and wrestling with logic problems.

Inner Flame also used the events as part of their recruitment and gained many interested participants for their residential course.

ONE IN THE BUSH
BUSHCRAFT | TRAINING WORKSHOP FOR OUTDOOR INSTRUCTORS
SNOWDONIA | DECEMBER 2009


Totem and Boulder Adventures jointly hosted a Bushcraft training workshop for a group of outdoor instructors. Employing the stone soup principle, where everyone has something to contribute to the event, we took turns in sharing our knowledge and contributing to discussions.

Amongst the skills learnt were fire-starting, fire shapes and styles, whittling, safe use of axes, knives and saws, shelter building and fauna identification. Despite the snow, it was a lot of fun playing in the woods and practicing skills our ancestors would have recognised.

Blog posting and photos

THIRD SECTOR RECRUITMENT
INNER FLAME | RECRUITMENT OF POTENTIAL COURSE MEMBERS
SWINDON | OCTOBER 2009

Inner Flame uses experiential recruitment events to attract potential participants onto their "Fire Me Up!" course. We helped run an event at the Swindon Link Centre using the climbing wall. Amazingly they had a 100% conversion rate of attendees to course participants.

It was great to not only meet interesting young people but to see how many of the previous course participants were happy to come back and give their own time to talk to potential participants.

240 APPRENTICES ONE EVENT
NETWORK RAIL | APPRENTICE TRAINING EVENT
PORTSMOUTH | SEP 2009


Totem provided facilitation on a huge apprentice training event for Network Rail by Call of the Wild and VT Training. 240 apprentices received lectures, worked as teams on tasks and reviewed their performance over those tasks. The two days culminated in the apprentices racing to build 46 piece lego cars, with the winning team just taking 36 seconds!

The positive attitude of the apprentices made for an inspiring couple of days, as trainers we can ask for nothing more than people with open minds and a desire to learn.

THREE PEAKS CHALLENGE
EVOLUTION SERVICES | THREE PEAKS CHALLENGE
BEN NEVIS, SCAFELL PIKE AND SNOWDON | AUG 2009

The Three Peaks Challenge involves climbing the three highest peaks, respectively, in England, Wales and Scotland. The peaks are Ben Nevis (1344m), Scafell Pike (978m) and Snowdon (1085m), normally climbed in that order. Evolution Services, normally found in the exciting world of Formula One took on the challenge with Totem staff acting as a guide

Rain and strong winds did not deter them from summiting on Ben Nevis but by the time we had reached Scafell Pike, it was gusting force eight and raining hard. Choosing safety over reckless determination, we headed for Wales and enjoyed better weather on Snowdon. After 1200 miles on the road and nearly 2.5 vertical kilometres of climbing they arrived back at their offices knowing a lot more about their colleagues.

HIGH ALTITUDE DINING
HIGH ALTITUDE DINING
SNOWDONIA | AUGUST 2009

Not strictly work but one of the Totem team is getting marrried soon so we had a send-off in style. A three course black tie meal on the summit of Tryfan, 915m above sea level. This iconic North Wales peak involves significant scrambling so getting the table and chairs to the top was a real team effort.

After port and cheese in the evening sun we were back at the trail head before dark. There are some pictures of this fine adventure here.

MARLBOROUGH COLLEGE | SHELL LIFE SKILLS WEEK
BRECON BEACONS | JUNE 2009

We led two lightweight walking expeditions with groups of ten young people. As well as teaching navigation and wild camping skills, we facilitated exercises and discussions on life skills such as teamwork, personal organisation and self and group reflection.

Glorious sunshine allowed the participants to really enjoy their remote mountain campsites, swim in the nearby stream and learn to live in a self-sufficent group.

"We found the expedition difficult but thanks to your guidance and leadership, we came through unscathed"

MAKING THINGS HAPPEN
ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN | OPEN OUTCOME COURSE
SNOWDONIA | MAY 2009

Our innovative open outcome course ran in Snowdonia, North Wales. Six interesting people, some unusually pleasant weather and a mix of challenging activities made made for a great weekend.

We abseiled, built pontoons, made slate art, discovered what tribes we belonged to and sat under the stars around the campfire. There are some photos here and here.

"A month of life packed into 48 hours"

SHEEP HERDING
INNER FLAME | SHEEP HERDING RISK ASSESSMENT
FEBRUARY 2009

An unconventional piece of consultancy! Working alongside a shepherd we risk assessed the herding of sheep by a group of young people, with the twist that instead of using dogs, they have to do the running themselves! A document was then produced for Inner Flame to help them run sessions safely.

An unusual and creative activity from an unusual and creative charity.

ERICSSON | PRE-OUTDOOR DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOP
7-8 JANUARY 2009 | READING


Two day workshop for apprentices attending an outdoor development course. Based around a national qualification in Key Skills, the workshop looked at Problem Solving, Working with Others and Communication. Using our core belief in experiential based learning, the course was very practical with participants building catapults, breaking codes and giving presentations at short notice

Delivered in partnership with PDS Ltd.

AIRWAVE | PRE-OUTDOOR DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOP
18-19 DECEMBER 2008 | NATIONWIDE

Two day workshop for apprentices attending an outdoor development course. Based around a national qualification in Key Skills, the workshop looked at Problem Solving, Working with Others and Communication. Using our core belief in experiential based learning, the course was very practical with participants building catapults, breaking codes and giving presentations at short notice

Delivered in partnership with PDS Ltd.

VESTAS | TEAM BUILDING EVENT
12 DECEMBER 2008 | NEW FOREST

Sixteen engineers from Vestas took part in an orienteering / puzzle solving event set in the imaginary Democratic Republic of Vestonia. Based at the remote High Corner Inn in the New Forest, this international team had a chance to test both their brains and their fitness as well as see the forest in its frost covered glory.

"It was really good. People really liked it. The venue was really good and the Vestas personalized game, country and beret were appreciated. The questions were not too easy nor too hard."

ARQIVA | PRE-OUTDOOR DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOPS
1-4 DECEMBER 2008 | BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

Two day workshop for apprentices attending an outdoor development course. Based around a national qualification in Key Skills, the workshop looked at Problem Solving, Working with Others and Communication. Using our core belief in experiential based learning, the course was very practical with participants building catapults, breaking codes and giving presentations at short notice

Delivered in partnership with PDS Ltd.

O2 | PRE-OUTDOOR DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOP
19 NOVEMBER 2008 | LEEDS

Two day workshop for apprentices attending an outdoor development course. Based around a national qualification in Key Skills, the workshop looked at Problem Solving, Working with Others and Communication. Using our core belief in experiential based learning, the course was very practical with participants building catapults, breaking codes and giving presentations at short notice

Delivered in partnership with PDS Ltd.

MARLBOROUGH COLLEGE | DUKE OF EDINBURGH AWARD SUPERVISION
11-12 OCTOBER 2008 | SOUTH WALES

Two days in the stunning Brecon Beacons training teenagers in navigation, camp craft and self-reliance. The group covered nearly 30km with an overnight camp near the remote Ystradfellte resevoir. On the way they took in Pen-Y-Fan, the highest mountain in South Wales.

VIRGIN MEDIA | PRE-OUTDOOR DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOPS
8 OCTOBER - 12 NOVEMBER 2008 | NATIONWIDE

Two day workshop for apprentices attending an outdoor development course. Based around a national qualification in Key Skills, the workshop looked at Problem Solving, Working with Others and Communication. Using our core belief in experiential based learning, the course was very practical with participants building catapults, breaking codes and giving presentations at short notice

Delivered in partnership with PDS Ltd.

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