Entrust is our joint venture with Staffordshire County Council, and works across the UK in partnership with schools, academy trusts and local authorities to provide specialist expertise around school improvement, learning technologies, and property and support services.
What is the Entrust Outdoors programme development team responsible for?
Entrust Outdoors is the outdoor education arm of Entrust. We work with thousands of school children each year, providing them with enjoyable residential experiences that revolve around outdoor education activities, such as climbing, kayaking, caving and raft building.
With all four of Entrust's Outdoor Education Centres now operating at close to full capacity, the role of the programme development team is to look at alternative ways in which we might work with schools. Whether it be delivering teambuilding days on school premises, setting up temporary camps in remote locations or running expedition-style programmes.
Roughly how many people are in the team?
There are usually six to eight people involved in bringing new projects to life, although the exact size of the team varies on a day-to-day basis, depending on what stage of programme development we are currently at.
As a project team, we draw on the experience and expertise of specialists from across the service and almost every new programme that we launch will have involved individuals from the worlds of finance, marketing, business development and project management, as well as senior members of the instructor team and senior managers.
Describe a typical day for the team.
When creating new outdoor learning programmes, there is a process that we adhere to. This process typically involves researching an idea; plotting out practical considerations such as logistics and manpower; assessing the financial viability of turning the idea into a deliverable product; combining all of the research into an engaging outdoor education programme; and then creating an appropriate sales and marketing strategy.
As such, any given day might see us conducting research on our competitors, building business cases, writing course itineraries, liaising with local landowners, creating marketing materials or briefing the business development and customer service teams.
What is the proudest moment for the team?
In September of this year we were both delighted and honoured to host His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex, as part of the launch of our new bushcraft school, Wilderness Academy. Members of the programme development team were able to spend time with HRH and it was extremely gratifying to see how clearly he understood the value and the benefits of outdoor learning.
It was also hugely rewarding to witness HRH engage first hand with the young people taking part in that day’s activities, joining them on a new programme that 12 months ago did not exist. Not only was it a very proud moment for all concerned, it also served as confirmation for the team that we were on the right track in terms of our approach to new product development.
Tell us something that people may not know about the team.
The Entrust Outdoors programme development team is constantly working on new and innovative projects. One area that we have been focusing on recently is the creation of programmes that enhance the mainstream PE and Sport curriculum. This is not an area that schools would automatically associate with Entrust Outdoors, and so we are currently on a mission to change this way of thinking.
Outdoor education is a key component of the PE and sport curriculum, as opposed to something that exists in isolation. With the UK government now investing increasing amounts of PE and sport premium funding into primary schools, headteachers could be using this funding to put their pupils through exciting and adventurous teambuilding training, rather than focusing all the time on mainstream sports such as football and netball.
One such example is Rescue One Zero. Blending outdoor education, personal development and adventure, Rescue One Zero is an all-new, action-packed teambuilding event that we have recently designed for pupils at Key Stage 2. Delivered on school premises, the programme is a fast-paced combination of challenge, learning and physical activity.
Working as members of an elite Crisis Response Team, under the callsign Rescue One Zero, pupils spend the morning developing a range of team-related skills (eg. communication, cooperation, decision making), whilst tackling a number of problem-solving challenges. In the afternoon catastrophe strikes, at which point teams spring into action, taking on a series of missions and putting into practice all of the skills learnt during the morning session.
The day is a lot of fun; it has been specifically designed to complement the existing PE curriculum; it involves an element of upskilling for school staff; and it’s an excellent way to develop teamwork and other essential life skills in young people.