Giving schoolchildren a head start in life

Giving schoolchildren a head start in life

How do you give your students that extra something that sets them apart when they’re applying for college, university or their first job?

One way is to equip them with the soft skills – responsibility, independence, self-awareness, self-confidence – valued in the corporate world. Many organisations, both large and small, recognise the value of experiential learning that can be achieved through our outdoor activity programmes, as a way to develop personal skills and improve business performance.

In effect it’s an extension of an individual’s journey from dependent learner in childhood, where decisions are made for them, through to independent learner and finally responsible adult. Our role at Lakeside is to act as a catalyst, creating an environment that accelerates this learning, and helps young people to make productive decisions based on their experiences.

Developing soft skills

For more than a decade, Jacobs has sent its UK graduate trainees to Lakeside, to further develop their “soft skills”.

This year, around 120 trainees were put through their paces by our professional development instructors during the company’s four-day UK Graduate Conference and Development programme. Jacobs’ Learning & Development Manager, Fallon Faulkner says:

“The Lakeside residential is a valuable experience for our graduate trainees. The activities challenge them both physically and mentally, making them far more aware of their strengths and natural behaviours. This knowledge and awareness helps them to grow as individuals.”

Delegates take on similar tasks, including water-based teamwork challenges and trust activities, that we offer younger people, as well as more complex tasks designed to develop management skills.

Tony Ball, Lakeside Programme Operations Manager says: “The earlier young people experience this type of experiential learning the better. Our focus is always on the positive and, whether we’re working with graduate trainees, adults or schoolchildren, the aim is always to equip them with skills for work and skills for life.”



Childrens mental health - In-story pic

Katie Bremner, Jacobs UK graduate says: “The Jacobs UK graduate weekend was an amazing opportunity to meet people from all across Jacobs. The lakeside activities created a fun and exciting experience for us to bond socially and overcome practical challenges. The staff were great at encouraging us to think about leadership and teamwork skills which I now apply in my day-to-day role.”

For more information about our outdoor adventure programmes call 01539 539000 or email

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