Grahame Robb Associates are celebrating the one year anniversary of the official opening of our Outdoor Leadership Centre at St. George’s Park, the English FA’s National Football Centre.

To give you an insight into life at the Outdoor Leadership Centre, I thought I’d describe for you a typical day in my role as Operations Manager. However, upon reflection, that’s not easy to do as my role encompasses such a diverse range of requirements, that it’s rare two days are exactly the same!  

Although we officially opened the facility on the 23rd July 2014, the project was more than a year in the making. GRA was able to utilise its years of experience from our other facility, in Reading, to optimise the activities on offer for effective leadership and team development at St. George’s Park.

I personally came on board a few months after the official opening and therefore missed out on watching the site initially come to life (and would like to say a huge thanks to my colleagues for this accomplishment!), but I still feel a strong connection with the development of the centre as we have continued to make improvements and adjustments to the site throughout my time with the company.

The day-to-day running of the centre requires me to focus on setting up for (and tidying up after) bespoke client programmes, with activities such as resetting the lines on the climbing tower and linear high ropes course or alterations to the many problem-solving challenges we have, as well as building and site maintenance - this could be organising the store rooms or even a spot of painting! I’m also responsible for recruiting and managing our pool of associate staff.

In addition to the day-to-day running of the centre, I am a training facilitator, operating primarily on outdoor experiential learning programmes. When I joined GRA, I perceived this as an exciting opportunity to use the skills and experience I gained from my previous employment, within the outdoor education sector, and apply them to corporate groups as well as sports teams.

In the past few months, I have found myself standing with a Regional Director on top of the windswept climbing tower explaining the benefits of stepping off the 40ft Powerfan platform, facilitating a new local business teams’ attempt at solving the Lava Flow initiative task or supporting the England Senior Women’s Football Team during their Crate Stack challenge attempt (they were brilliant and are currently top the GRA leaderboard).

So, a typical day? Well, I’m glad to say there isn’t one; just the ever present challenge of striving for continuous improvements that makes me passionate about my role at GRA, roll on the second year celebrations.

Our Outdoor Leadership Centre at St. George’s Park provides you with a unique setting for developing high performing teams and leaders. Our state-of-the-art facility and experienced facilitators will create a fun and challenging experiential training environment suitable for all participants and abilities. We run programmes and packages to fit a diverse set of requirements from a fun team building session to a facilitated learning experience such as a management development programme. We can also run activities to support conferences and other events taking place at St, George’s Park. For more information regarding the centre or to enquire about booking a programme, please contact or call 01283 575905.

By Andy Norton, Operations Manager at the St. George’s Park Outdoor Leadership Centre. 

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