As BCITO’s Industry Advocate for Flooring, I was recently invited to attend a two-day invitational course at Outward Bound. This was designed to give me a taste of what life is like for the apprentices that attend and to see how life-changing this experience can be first-hand.
I left Wellington and landed in Picton to meet the rest of the team that would be joining me on the 2-day taster course. This group, dubbed the 2018 Cobham Watch by our instructors, was made up of industry leaders, staff from BCITO and staff from Skills.
From the moment we arrived in Picton we were met with all sorts of challenges such as sailing and rowing our way from Picton to the Outward Bound grounds in Anakiwa, refreshing dips in the ocean, taking to the tree tops to tackle the high ropes course and spending the night sleeping under a bivouac in the bush. We skipped our usual morning routines of sleep ins and trips to the coffee shop in favour of a 5:30am Physical Therapy session, followed by a 3.2 kilometre run and a swim in the sea to cool off. These challenges were great for all those in our group, but the real highlight of the trip was getting to chat with our apprentices who were half way through their 2-week course BETA course.
I got the chance to catch up with Lundun Vao of Lovich Floors who won a scholarship this year. Lundon said, “I am really enjoying the experience. It is really challenging, both physically and mentally. One of the key lessons I have learnt from Outward Bound is the importance of group morale. There have been a lot of times on the course when we shouldn’t have been enjoying ourselves because of the tasks we were doing, but we have because the group vibe was good. Even in those times that were challenging and painful when you looked around there was nothing but happy faces, so it was hard not to feel happy as well. We rowed 20 miles in 11 ½ hours. You’re not meant to have a good time doing that, but we did. That’s what pushed us on.”
Lundun has already begun thinking about taking this positive attitude back to the workplace. He says, “At Outward Bound there’s no time to complain about things, so I don’t complain as much as I used to. My job is rewarding, but there are good days and bad days. You just need to get in and get it done.” Lundun would definitely recommend the Outward Bound experience to anyone that gets the opportunity to attend.
Outward Bound scholarships have now closed for 2018, but keep an eye out early next year for your chance to apply to attend a course in 2019.
Unga Funoa’s interest in carpentry began as a young boy in Tonga.
If you’re looking for a straight answer to a serious question that helps the bottom line, such as who would you employ? you’ll get one if you ask Brad Sandri at Ranger Specialist Coatings.