photo3The Outward Bound Trust are working with Cogent Skills and the Science Industry Partnership (SIP) to develop apprenticeship training programmes based on the Life Sciences and Industrial Science (LS&IS) Trailblazer assessment plans.

About The Outward Bound Trust

The Outward Bound Trust is an educational charity that uses the outdoors to help develop young people. The Trust deliver sustained behavioural change and measurable business results through their collaborative approach with clients and partners. Since The Trust’s foundation in 1941, over 1 million young people have been through an Outward Bound® course. As experts in the development of early talent, in 2015 they worked with over 2,500 apprentices on customised learning programmes.


John McCarthy, a Client Relationship Manager from The Trust explains why their experiential learning courses for apprentices are an impactful and cost effective way to achieve accelerated learning. “Employers benefit from highly motivated apprentices who are implementing Trailblazer identified behaviours. As well as personal development, apprentices also receive a strong message about the investment being made in them and their future careers. The results reverberate in the business through better staff retention, measurable cost and time saving efficiencies and improved risk reduction/awareness.”

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) wanted their apprentices to improve their confidence and communication levels, and with access to SIP funding chose to work with Cogent Skills and The Trust on their apprenticeship programme.

The Trust use experiential learning (plan, do, review, apply) to develop and structure each course. They believe that the greater the personal challenge, the greater the apprentices’ reflections will be and the greater the intensity of the learning experience. Their trainers facilitate learning both in the moment (perhaps at the top of an abseil, or in the middle of a lake) and in a group review phase by encouraging individuals to reflect, describe and communicate their learnings from the experience. This methodology aligned with Trailblazer frameworks makes the learning active and the analogy with work obvious. Change is then embedded quickly and transferred easily to the workplace.

photo4Stephen Stewart, Apprenticeship Programme Lead at GSK tells us “The Outward Bound Trust experience is now a core part of the behavioural journey for our apprentices. It has been instrumental in developing their understanding of the GSK values and our change framework. We set out with clear objectives on what we wanted to achieve but our programme delivered much, much more. The confidence of our apprentices grew throughout the week as they built new networks and discovered new skills. At GSK we now have an even more engaged and energetic set of apprentices working together to help people do more, feel better and live longer.”

In December 2015, The Trust worked with 10 companies who are collaborating on the delivery of their apprenticeship training based on the LS&IS Trailblazer assessment. Working with Cogent and SIP, this alliance includes SABIC Petrochemicals, Lotte Chemical, Lucite International, Johnson Matthey, Huntsman PU, Team Valve, Chemoxy, CPI and Redcar Bulk Terminal.

Using LS&IS Trailblazer standards as a common benchmark the alliance have worked with industry training providers on technical skills and with The Trust on behavioural skills. The Trust took 40 apprentices through a week-long programme to engage them with LS&IS Trailblazer behaviours, taking responsibility for themselves and their challenges, and concluding with practical development plans and a presentation to key stakeholders where they were able to articulate their learning and the benefits it would offer to their individual organisations.Image 1

“Whatever the nature of the organisation, the competence of its people is key to achieving business aims. This is why our apprenticeship programmes must produce people who are able to work to the industry standard and contribute to their business from day one. The assessment plan will ensure that all science industry apprentices have demonstrated that they have the skills, knowledge understanding and behaviours needed to work in this exciting industry.”

Craig Hargreaves

SABIC UK Petrochemicals Limited

Chair, Life Sciences & Industrial Science Trailblazer

For more information about The Outward Bound Trust please contact or visit