Apprentices at GE Aviation spent two weeks off-site on a team leading course, where they had the opportunity to meet and work with colleagues on the company’s graduate scheme, reports Stuart Andrews.
As part of GE Aviation’s higher engineering apprenticeship at the Cheltenham campus in Bishops Cleeve, apprentices take part in the ILM Level 2 Award in team leading, alongside GE Aviation’s graduate scheme cohort.
The course, run by i2i Development Solutions, concentrates on the key skills and tools required for effective leadership - these include communication skills, personal development skills, leadership focus and conflict management techniques.
The first of the two weeks concentrated on personal understanding and development: both alone and as a team we learnt to recognise our own and other peoples learning styles, in order to communicate with them more effectively.
In addition to this, the apprentices and graduates took part in several activities, including a high ropes course, a team-based puzzle activity and a radio communications exercise. All of these activities were designed to demonstrate and support the content explained through lesson material on the course. For example, the radio communications exercise was a good lesson in how much communication is given by verbal, tone and physical methods, and the difficulties in coping without one of these elements in certain situations.
The second of the two weeks focussed on leadership and team management, with subjects such as dealing with conflict, leadership focus and leadership styles. Not only did we focus on our own styles of leadership, but also learned to recognise and adapt to the preferences of others within a team.
Another subject included communication skills and building rapport with people in order to work effectively alongside them, as well as recognising and attempting to find a win-win solution to a problem. Once again, additional activities were designed to reinforce the learning. The Myers-Briggs personality type indicator test also played a part during the second week, with teams challenged to understand how best to communicate with different people with completely different preferences.
The experience over both weeks proved very useful in not only developing new skills and tools for use within the business, but also in getting to know the graduates and apprentices a lot better. As the week-long courses were based in the New Forest and Dartmoor respectively, we were also staying away from the company and home for the week with the graduates, allowing a good chance to get to know them personally and away from a business environment.