Dynamic Group Apprentice Residential 2022

The 2022 Dynamic group residential experience for first-year apprentices from Hydram Engineering, and fellow Dynamic group company Dynamic Aerospace Fabrications took place between the 8th and 10th of November. This year the group stayed in the amazingly picturesque Featherstone Castle, a grand thirteenth Century castle in Northumberland.

The Grade 1 listed building was the ideal situation to develop apprentice team working, resilience and communication skills. This year’s activities were expertly carried out by John and Allister from “Big On Adventure”, a specialist company that Hydram Engineering has utilised over the years for residential and team-building activities, for apprentices and team members alike.

The Apprentices this year were not only challenged by the activities but the weather conditions, as they literally endured all four seasons in one day. This year the apprentices were supported by Neil (Training Manager), Lee (Systems and IT) and Andy (QC and Engineering) who were expected to support and guide the group through the activities.

Featberstone Castle

Day One

Day one started gently with team activities, icebreakers and tasks designed to encourage the group to work together to achieve a common goal. As this was a mixed group with apprentices from both UK sites, these early activities are vital to the group getting to know each other, building bonds and above all letting them discover strengths and weaknesses within the team.

Team activities at Fetherstone Castle

The day ended with a gorge walk along the turbulent Ashgill Force, located just outside Alston in the Cumbrian hills.  Ashgill during the summer is a lovely walk, with the occasional waterfall to leap off, but in November this was a freezing cold torrent of water, battering all who entered.

The challenge with a gorge walk is to offer and accept support, you have to look out for your colleagues, guide them and above all help them along encouraging them to continue and experience the challenge head on.

Gorge walk Ashgill Force

Day Two

Day two was a new challenge for the Hydram and Dynamic teams, the ascent of Helvellyn, England’s second highest peak from Thirlmere, a short but steep climb, none of the apprentices had completed such a climb before in the conditions the group experienced.

Helvellyn summit November 2022

This challenge did truly have the aforementioned four seasons, sun at the bottom, horizontal rain in the middle, followed by -6C and snowy at the top, a true mix. It has to be said that the whole group performed amazingly, helping and supporting each other with the climb.

Following a short lunch stop at the summit – under an emergency shelter for some, the descent began, in true Lake District fashion the sun came out half way down.  Although only our second day the camaraderie between the group members was a pleasure to witness, considering they are from two sites separated by a couple of hundred miles, they supported and encouraged each other throughout the climb both up and down.

From Helvellyn summit November 2022

Day Three

The third and final day was a trip to Great Wanney Crag for Bouldering, Weaselling and finally a climb up and over the summit. Weaselling for those that may not know is the squeezing and squishing through gaps in rocks, similar to caving or potholing, but without being underground.

This is a test of personal perseverance and resilience, even the most confident get themselves stuck, as Harry demonstrated (photo below).

The support of peers is vital, as they can usually see more than the poor stuck person, and can then talk them out of the crevice. The beauty of this activity is the fact that it’s all carried out at ground level, with clear views of the route both in and out – nobody is stuck for long.

Weaselling at Great Wanney Crag

Final Thoughts

All in all the trip was a success, the seven apprentices and three staff  had a wonderful experience, all gained skills and knowledge they previously did not have, and above all the team work skills were tested and stretched.

Special mention to Jenson from the Dynamic Aerospace team, his positive attitude and willingness to help and guide others is a credit to him as an individual, if he harnesses his energy he will be a powerful force, and an excellent team member, he gained the vote of the staff team regarding being the stand out apprentice of 2022. As Training Manager I have conducted trips like this for a few years now, first one was long before I even joined Hydram Engineering, and he is one of the best, if not the best performing team member I have seen to date.

This is the end goal of the Dynamic Group, Hydram Engineering and Dynamic Aerospace Apprentice programs, to discover and nurture raw talent into a productive and efficient individuals.

Neil Mawson – Training Manager, Hydram Engineering – November 22

Featherstone Castle at night - spooky
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