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February 2012

Team building event sparks new PPM

Team building event sparks new PPM

An adventurous weekend in Wales could prove to be an exciting new start for mentoring and teambuilding organisation PPM.

The chairperson of Professionals in Print and Media (PPM), the new name for a mentoring organisation that used to be known as YMP, says the first event the organisation has run under its new name "is a start to what could be a good future".

The event saw a team, mostly made up of representatives from printing companies, take part in a team building weekend in a forest in Anglesey at the end of September run by the Shaggy Sheep Wales adventure company.

PPM chairperson Ann Drayton, who took part in the event herself, said: "It is a good start. It is perhaps still to early to say it has been a success, but I am confident we can achieve what we set out to achieve."

The weekend started on the Friday, with the team – made up of nine men and three women aged from mid-20s to 52, turning up to spend the first night in tin shacks in the forest.

On the Saturday they split into different teams to be given the task of building a camp for that evening. The day involved numerous team-building exercises including digging a hole for a fire, building the fire which required lighting it without the use of matches, and cooking a meal which had been provided. The evening was then spent sleeping in their shelter made purely from wood and foliage located in the forest.

On the Sunday afternoon it was off for a session of coasteering – climbing up cliffs and jumping off them into the sea with a few more daring jumping from 30 feet into crashing waves.

Nick Hancock, business development manager at Konica Minolta, said the event was physically challenging, and many of them ached afterwards.

"It wasn’t totally Ray Mears," he said. "The forest was on a hill, and we had to camp on level ground, so when we found a suitable site we had to level it first. We also had only basic tools, so we were only allowed a blunt axe and a machete. We were provided with a chicken, but we still had to cook it, and that took four to five hours.

There were also no washing facilities, he said, and only a Portaloo for the ladies present. "Everyone had dirty fingernails by Saturday evening," he said, "and we were not really interested in washing then."

Nevertheless, he said, the event was very successful in helping to build not just a sense of teamwork, but also self-esteem, morale, and skills in problem solving.

"If there was someone who felt they couldn’t do it," he said, "we all pulled together to encourage them. We were very supportive with one another. For example I hate heights, and I screamed all the way down doing the coasteering jumps. But we still supported each other.

"The event was also good for finding easier ways to do something, such as how to get seven stones to the fire when you haven’t got a bag without having to walk right across the forest. We thought up really good ideas too, such as having light sticks that reflect the moon to show the way to the Portaloo at night time."

Although he thinks anyone should probably only go to such an event once, he believes the skills developed there can easily be transferred to the office. "You can develop your staff and bring them together at an event like this, because everyone is equal," he said.

Drayton said the old YMP committee had come close to winding the organisation up earlier this year because many felt it had lost its focus and no longer stood for anything. She now hopes the new event will pave the way for a new direction for the organisation. "Now we have a new identity, and we have opened it up to media, PPM has a better future," she said.

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