Ron Dearing UTC students embrace great outdoors in five-day challenge

Sixth form computing students from Ron Dearing UTC took part in a challenging residential trip in the Lake District to boost their confidence, resilience, communication and teamwork skills.

Run by The Outward Bound Trust in Ullswater, the trip saw 10 Year 13 students embrace team-building, orienteering, canoeing and an overnight expedition over five days.

The UTC’s Employer Partners, which offer apprenticeship and employment opportunities to Ron Dearing students each year, encourage teamwork and communication skills in their workforces and the trip was designed to build on those areas to help set students up for the future.

Raft building

Day one of the trip included team-building games, a jog and a swim in the lake, while day two was focused on orienteering. The students were awarded points which could be converted into money to buy materials to build a raft and sail it back across the lake.

They had to plan the route, how to build the raft and establish what kit they’d need to meet the requirements of the challenge.

Day three was the start of the 10-mile expedition, which involved climbing the Seat Sandal fell from Patterdale, staying in a hut overnight, and walking to Glenridding the following day.

The focus was on working as a team, ensuring no one was left behind, and the students ate meals from ration packs.

On top of Sandle Seat
Students at the top of Seat Sandle

Day four saw the students canoe four miles from Glenridding back to the Outward Bound base in Ullswater.

Jason White, Head of Computing at Ron Dearing UTC, and Digital Teacher Robbie Olsen accompanied the students on the trip and completed the activities with them, encouraging and supporting them along the way.

Robbie said: “Some of the students had never done anything like this before and they all gained very valuable skills. They were pushed out of their comfort zones and they all did really well.

“Experiences like this build on the students’ confidence, communication and teamwork skills, which our Employer Partners want to see in their future apprentices.  It’s character-building and it also gives them  wider experiences to include on CVs and discuss during interviews.

“It was a fantastic week and we’re looking forward to taking more sixth form students along for the experience next year.”

The Outward Bound Trust aims to inspire young people to believe they can achieve more than they ever thought possible. The charity partners with schools, colleges, employers and youth groups to teach young people to believe in themselves.

Student Kenzi Wilson at the top of Seat Sandle

Following the trip’s success, it will now become an annual event and another is planned for a further 12 Year 13 students in October.

Kenzi Wilson, 17, said: “It was hard work but I gained a lot from it. It improved my confidence and I found the experience very enriching. It definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone.”

Fellow Year 13 student Layla Richards, 18, said: “The trip taught us how to work as a team and I really enjoyed canoeing. I’ve never done anything like this before.”

Ben Garner, 17, added: “The trip helped me to improve my social skills. I’d like an apprenticeship to become and IT Engineer with one of the school’s employer partners when I leave Ron Dearing UTC. If I can communicate better in a team, it will help me in the future.”