Loch Eil Update

Posted at 3:44 pm on 28th February, 2018

Amy Doram, Learning & Development Business Partner at AkzoNobel has recently published her blog following participation in our year 10 Outward Bound Loch Eil Leadership course.

Amy’s involvement on this trip is part of the continued relationship between AkzoNobel and the Outward Bound Trust (OBT) and a number of schools around the UK; one of which is Flixton Girls. AkzoNobel sponsors the trust through a range of activities including corporate donations and personal funding through employees, allowing young people to attend a week long OBT experience at an affordable price. Some of the young people who attend have never seen the sea or had the opportunity to learn in such a unique environment before.

AkzoNobel believe that young people learn best through activities and experiences and so an employee mentor is allocated to each participating school and they support that school through a range of activities relating to employability skills. For example, AkzoNobel participated at FGS Aspirational Futures day, answering career questions from year 10 and 11 students and explaining the recruitment process and their career pathways. In previous years they have painted the school facilities and are hoping to be able to offer work experience in their Altrincham offices.

Amy loves participating in these programmes. She’s volunteered and mentored young people previously and gets so much out of being able to provide support from outside of the school learning.  Amy said ‘These experiences give me the chance to share my skills and knowledge and to see young people learn and grow. Learning from young people whilst spending time at Outward Bound provides a different perspective on what's important to them and what challenges they face in life. These are insights you can't get from just a day visit, which in turn allows me to shape how we recruit, provide leadership to early careers employees and even on a pastoral basis for employees who may have children the same age.’

Flixton Girls Are AWESOME, Blog by Amy Doram

I’m not a strong swimmer, I can swim-ish but I don’t like it.

“Just jump!”; “Go on Miss, you can do it!”; “You’ll be ok!”; “I’ll jump with you Miss” “Go for it!”

It was day one and here I was shivering and terrified on a wobbly pontoon preparing to jump into a freezing cold loch in front 36 cheering girls from Flixton Girls School.

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This was our first activity at a rainy Outward Bound Centre in the Scottish Highlands. I had arrived determined to be a fantastic role model, to be capable, competent, and support the girls in facing their fears. Turned out it was the girls that were supporting me!!!

So, I jumped and it was the most liberating experience; I couldn’t get out of the freezing water quick enough, but the sense of pride and achievement (literally) washed over me. 

I was so pumped. I stood on the pontoon, cheering them on; ensuring they knew how amazing they were for having a go. Everyone got into the water and pushed their own limits in one way or another and I was so proud of them all.


This was the start of my rollercoaster journey of being an Outward Bound mentor. 

I have to admit that I expected fourteen year olds girls to be bickering, worried about make-up and hair straighteners, constantly on Snapchat and treating the activities with mild indifference … that absolutely wasn’t the case.

We had several highs; girls facing fears of heights, critters, water and conquering physical and emotional barriers. We canoed, zip wired, rock scrambled, played beach games, swung on rope swings, hiked, made hot chocolate on the beach and took in the gorgeous scenery. Team building activities bought out their competitive side…!


And, we had the invariable lows; a 16k hike up a mountain in sideways rain, eating soggy sandwiches huddled against the remains of a dry stone wall, cooking dinner in the dark (and that flippen sideways rain)  and constant battles reminding the girls to put their kit away.

However, I wouldn’t change it for the world! I spent the week constantly wet through, ‘working’ a 14 hour day and with only hot chocolate as solace. But, I loved every second and would do it again in a heartbeat.

Yes, there was the odd mini meltdown but overall, the girls showed leadership, teamwork, collaboration, support, determination, resilience, enthusiasm, humour, focus and passion. They overcame obstacles and found solutions, strove towards goals and they motivated each other to be the best they could be, even when things got tough. They demonstrated everything we’d expect of a really great work colleague. 

These girls will now meet the future head on. Inspired and better equipped to face the world and feel more confident about becoming work colleagues of the future. In fact, I’m sure that many of us could learn a thing or two from these awesome young people, I know I certainly did!