Posted by on 09 March 2018

Apprentices have tested their teamwork and problem solving at Exeter’s “escape rooms”.

University of Exeter apprentices visited Mission Escape on 6 Mar 18 as part of National Apprenticeship Week.

Ten apprentices took on the challenge – in which teams have to solve various puzzles to escape from the rooms within a time limit – along with the university’s head of apprenticeships, Jonathan Cresswell.

“We wanted to do something fun and engaging with our apprentices, so we invited them to Missions Escape,” said Mr Cresswell.

“The games challenged and encouraged apprentices to further develop teamwork, communication, outside-of-the-box-thinking and initiative.

“We were delighted to see the apprentices working together, listening to each other and tackling each problem in a calm and collaborative way.

“These are just some of the skills and characteristics people develop and improve during their apprenticeships here at Exeter.”

Arriving slightly early, our first challenge was to get in the main entrance! After a short wait our host arrived and the team was able to complete our first challenge of the afternoon.

The apprentices were briefed on the rules by our host and divided into two teams to tackle the “Bacterium” and “Maioc Crisis” escape challenges, each with a one-hour time limit.

Each team then entered their first room to start the challenge.

The Maioc Crisis team had to solve numerical and practical problems by going back in time (easier said than done), and gaining access to a jungle laboratory to secure a rare Maioc plant serum to save the world. There were 3 rooms in total for this challenge, and the team had to solve puzzles to get codes that had to be entered on a computer to unlock the next part of the challenge. The Maioc crisis team completed the challenge with 7 minutes to spare.

Meanwhile the Bacterium team was imprisoned in a deadly chemical factory and had to discover a formula, making their escape without being detected by the guards. The teams’ challenges involved more “crystal maze” type problems, and required teamwork, mental arithmetic and opening a series of padlocks to get between the rooms. They worked well as a team, and were in the process of solving the final problem to unlock the exit door to escape the room when, unfortunately, the time ran out.

Both teams enjoyed the experience, made new friends and left with a sense of achievement.

Maddy Geen, an apprentice in Business Administration at the University of Exeter, said:

“The escape rooms event was a great way for apprentices to build on their teamwork – these skills are a crucial part of my role.

“It was a fun activity that brought apprentices together to help build a strong network.”

She added: “I am really enjoying my apprenticeship, which is going extremely well.

“Once I have completed my apprenticeship, I am looking to apply for jobs within the University of Exeter.

“I currently work shadowing other teams to help me discover what jobs I would like to do post-apprenticeship.”

Amber Bassett, whose apprenticeship is also in Business Administration, said:

“My job can get demanding at times, so it’s important that my team work together to complete tasks that are particularly complex or urgent.

“Practicing teamwork at an event like Mission Escape is a fantastic opportunity to build on those skills, as well as to have fun with my fellow apprentices.

“My apprenticeship at the University is amazing and I love going into work every day to see what new things I will learn.”

National Apprenticeship Week is coordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service and is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and traineeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

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