Tiling apprentice discovers himself at Outward Bound

Each year BCITO are proud to offer 10 Outward Bound scholarships worth more than $3,500 each to apprentices in a specialist trade and 3 Mana Wahine scholarships to female apprentices in any BCITO trade. This is a once in a life time experience that helps young up and coming industry leaders build confidence, discover more about themselves, and develop their team work and communication skills. 


As BCITO’s Industry Advocate for Tiling, 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 who 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 Organisation.

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 treetops 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 5:30 am Physical Therapy (PT) 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 halfway through their 2-week BETA course.

I got the chance to catch up with Marshall Watkins, a tiling apprentice at The Old Pole Factory Tile Shop, who won a scholarship to attend the course this year.  Marshall said, “Outward Bound is one of the best experiences of my life. It is awesome! You get taken out of your everyday life and get thrown into a whole new world.” When asked about the lessons he’s learned from Outward Bound so far, Marshall says, “It shows that you’ve got more in your than you think and when you come back home you get to apply that. You know that you’ve pushed yourself to the limit before and you can do it again.” When asked if he would recommend the course to other tiling apprentices, Marshall said, “If anyone ever gets the opportunity they should definitely go for it.”

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.

Taylor Sizemore

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