Developing employability skills with Outward Bound

Outward Bound trips are the highlight of the year filled with adventure and fun. But, the trips to the outdoors also build on students’ employability skills.

St Machar Academy in Aberdeen have been coming to The Outward Bound Trust for over ten years, taking groups to centres in Loch Eil in the Scottish Highlands and Ullswater in the Lake District.

Alasdair MacGregor, Deputy Head at St Machar Academy in Aberdeen, explains the top five key employability skills their second year pupils learn at Outward Bound.

1. Organisation

Going on an Outward Bound course improves our pupils’ organisation and time-management skills. Throughout their Outward Bound adventure, they are given responsibility for planning tasks, setting goals and getting themselves organised – a new experience for many.

We are aware at the importance that employers put on being punctual and this is something that we continue to follow up with pupils throughout the year.

Credit The Outward Bound Trust


2. Working with others

During the Outward Bound course, our pupils learn about the value and importance of working with others and the concept that working as a team allows you to achieve more than working as an individual.

We know that this is a key ability employers look for. Our pupils learn valuable leadership skills within their groups and are constantly encouraging and motivating each other. Success in all activities at Outward Bound is dependent on working together as a unit with all participants’ contributions being valued.

3. Resilience

A key skill that employers look for is the ability to persevere with a task, even when it is difficult. Our Outward Bound course is designed to show our pupils that through resilience and determination, they can achieve their goals.

They push themselves and persevere with challenging tasks, such as climbing a mountain and jumping in cold water. This also boosts their self-belief and self-confidence.

4. Communication

The whole Outward Bound course enables our pupils to develop their communication skills. During the variety of activities the students progress through, they learn how vital clear and open channels of communication are, and the importance of listening to others.

The pupils are in groups with others they do not know. They can learn social skills and develop a confidence in communicating with people from different backgrounds. They learn how to be an effective communicator in challenging circumstances when out of their comfort zone.

Being able to communicate effectively is a vital skill for any future employee in all fields of employment.

Credit The Outward Bound Trust


5. Planning and resource management

During the overnight camping expedition, our pupils plan what is necessary to take with them to survive the night and manage an activity in the great outdoors.

They must make important decisions on what resources to take and how these should be distributed amongst their group, considering the strengths and weaknesses of group members. They decide how much food is needed, pack their own bags, decide who carries what, prepare their own meals and look after equipment. All of these tasks and responsibilities ensure they are developing valuable planning skills.

To find out more about The Outward Bound Trust, and how your school could get help funding their next outdoor adventure, click here.