The first ever Diversity challenge event took place at the Newark Show ground on Wednesday 26th of June. I was delighted to be invited to attend by the dynamo that is Anna Delvachio from Amey, she was parachuted in by Sir Peter Hendy CBE, and the President of CILT International. Anna with a small team from CILT, and Nimble PR events managed to increase the number of participants from 250 people to almost 350. A really excellent result as the numbers taking part were accelerated over a short period of time. I only got involved when Anna asked me to help engage with the bus and coach sector. Hats off therefore to National Express and Abellio Bus, who flew the flag admirably. Next year we will persuade a lot more bus/coach entries anf help achieve the new target of 500 participants.

I have to say that all those taking part had a genuinely great time, how do I know because I watched them take part in the extremely varied and challenging series of events. They were split between events outside, and events inside the large hanger, all the teams were judged by a small army of organisers, who did a great job in giving the briefings, and then ensuring the judging was impartial.

The purpose of the event was to celebrate and promote diversity within Companies within the Institute and outside of it. It would be a fair reflection that in the past CILT has been perceived as a retired gentleman’s club, and as a long term member myself i have to agree with this. And although I have tried to improve diversity in all its forms within the Bus and Coach Forum, in truth my efforts have produced virtually no results with only 2 ladies sitting on the committee. The super two are Ana Walker the Forum Secretary and the inspirational Mrs Margaret Everson MBE. However the rest are men, but on the positive the male membership average has dropped with less retired members and a new influx of senior younger Managers. Credit where it is due to the excellent Andrew Hunter who kindly stepped in to replace me as Chair as I battle cancer. Ably assisted by the true stalwart that is John Carr.

However, no surprise I digress, the event was billed as a cross between Its A Knockout (for those old enough to remember it) and the Krypton Factor. So, a cross between both physical and the mental very contemporary, and some. As old as time itself, including archery and clay pigeon shooting, to a diversity style dance off, and learning and then performing a classic New Zealand Hakka taught by a genuine Maori warrior, in full traditional dress. The full event line up was as follows;

Indoor challenges included 1. A Night At The Movies, (a movie quiz), 2. Air Space defence, an RAF challenge to dealing with an unidentified aircraft entering UK air space. 3. Bounce Volleyball, the twist being players bounce on an inflatable court to score points. 4. Crazy Lasers, Stormtrooper antics with laser guns. 5 CILT Challenge, answering challenging questions to shape the future of Logistics and Transport. 6 Diversity Dance Off, teams learn the moves and battle it out 7. Haka, Who can perform the best? 8 Last One Standing, Total Wipeout with a rising arm that you have to leap over, as it gets faster and higher. 9 Hungry Hippos, A variation on the board games involving bungee ropes and ball collecting pursued by hippos. 10. The Unclimable Ladder, a straight race on ladders that twist and turn. 11 Walk The Plank, a great team game where players attempt to walk a ski like plank that needs plans and coordination.

Outdoor Challenges included the following; 1 Archery, Robin Hoods compete to hit targets. 2. Laser Clay Shoot, lasers instead of bullets take down targets. 3. Mini Assault Course, a tough mental and physical challenge from the outset. 4 Revenge Of The Space Hoppers, teams compete in a relay race. Each team can also play their Joker for one game only which doubles the points scored for that one and only game.

Hopefully, this will give you a good flavour of the challenges and sheer good fun, and people from all ages and backgrounds took part resulting in a great day out, and also a great bonding process within the Companies themselves. I cannot praise this event enough and am delighted that i attended. Get involved it is a real force for good!

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