Civil engineering apprentices power ahead with new team development experience

A Midlands-based civil engineering company gave its apprentices a unique opportunity to develop and thrive together, in an environment that draws on military, business and engineering perspectives to fine-tune team performance.

Whitehouse Construction put seven of its apprentices through a unique development programme at The Dragonfly Team Synergy Centre, a new facility which provides forward-thinking organisations across the region with access to pioneering team development opportunities.

The apprentices, aged between 16 and 21, took part in a day-long programme which saw them tackle command exercises, think differently, plan effectively and take part in bespoke indoor activities.

Focused on health and safety in the workplace, the day formed part of their on-going training to develop into the next generation workforce of the future.

The programme was geared up to meet the specific needs of Whitehouse Construction.

Josephine Ewart-Sear, a Director of Whitehouse Construction, based in Ashbourne, and operating across the Midlands region, said: “Our directly-employed, civil engineering tradesmen and women operate in highly-complex, process-driven environments, with tight controls and procedures.

“The Team Synergy Day was designed to bring health and safety to the forefront of our apprentices’ thinking to meet the demands of these environments, both now and in their future careers.

“We invest significant resources to ensure our multi-disciplined teams have the training and development to work to the highest levels of safety and competence.

“Apprenticeships are important to the business as they enable us to develop our own people and training new entrants ensures we will serve our client base well into the future.

“The team development day allowed us to bring our values to life and show the impact of working together and the benefits of collaboration.

“It also helped reflect to the apprentices the importance of a two-way dialogue between themselves, their leaders and mentors in sharing health and safety best practice.”

Located at Ednaston Park, on the outskirts of Derby, the Dragonfly Team Synergy Centre has been developed by Army Colonel Adam Fraser-Hitchen and former Army Captain, Amanda Foster.

As Chartered Engineers and, in the latter part of their careers, business development strategists through their consultancy Dragonfly Directors, they have both drawn on more than 60 years’ experience, from barracks to the boardroom, to create the facility.

The outdoor all-weather command exercises are designed to challenge participants and encourage them to develop a mindset that values problem-solving, parallel thinking, planning and collaboration.

Amanda, Managing Director, said “In the military, command exercises are used to develop teams and also to assess and fine-tune leadership potential.

“The apprentices at Whitehouse Construction got involved from the outset, and in just one day, it was clearly evident how the team developed and grew stronger as a unit.

“It’s great to see people come together and take part in activities that deliver immediate benefits for the greater good of the team and the business overall.

“This is a team day that creates a culture of collaboration from the word go, with skills that can be injected into the workplace immediately and remain of value for the longer-term.”

More details about the Dragonfly Team Synergy Centre can be found at

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