INEOS has arguably cornered the market when it comes to offering its graduates the experience of a lifetime on land.
So it was only a matter of time before it looked for an equally exciting adventure to show them what they were truly capable of – at sea.
The challenge was the chance to race 16 other vessels from Liverpool to Dublin on board a 125ft tall ship.
The Merseyside Adventure Sailing Trust’s Apprentice Ship Cup is billed as a life-changing adventure, one that strengthens character, fortitude and self-confidence- and with thrill-seeking Jim Ratcliffe at INEOS’ helm, that was always going to appeal to the company.
“Climbing the 95ft masts while the ship is at sea certainly gets the blood pumping,” said Jacob Dossett, one of the three INOVYN graduates who competed in the race.
To give its graduates a taste of what might be expected in the race, INOVYN had arranged for them to meet the captain of a tall ship berthed at Liverpool Docks.
“We wanted them to see for themselves the vessel that they would be spending the best part of a week on,” said Brian Turner, INOVYN Learning & Development Manager.
When they got back to the office, all were keen to join the ship’s crew for the challenge.
“Unfortunately, the timing meant some of our graduates already had commitments that couldn’t be changed,” said Brian. “But three of our graduates signed up.”
For almost a week Rob Raven, 25, Jacob Dossett, 24, and Josh Murray, 24, with the other crew members worked in shifts around the clock to steady the ship, remain on course and stay motivated.
“It was good fun pulling together especially when the weather was challenging,” said Jacob. “All three of us worked a 12-hour stint to keep on course when many other members of the crew were down with sea sickness.”
For Rob, adapting to working with a team of mixed abilities and motivation was the biggest challenge.
“It was hard but being thrown into such a mixed team helped me to develop team working, networking and leadership skills,” he said.
All three are now back on dry land – and have done themselves and INEOS proud.
They were aboard the TS Morgenster, a 99-year-old former deep sea vessel, which finished the race – the initial leg of the Tall Ships Regatta – in first place.
“It was amazing to win,” said Jacob. “But we could not have done this without INOVYN’s support. It was paid for, organised and driven by the INOVYN team.”
The three also shared the award for the best trainee on board.
“Normally there is only one award but the captain and professional crew could not distinguish between them, so they got one each,” said Tony Moorcroft, INOVYN HR Director.
But the good news did not end there.
The Merseyside Adventure Sailing Trust weren’t only impressed with the quality of INEOS’ graduates. They rather admired the company’s ethos too – and at the recent awards ceremony at Liverpool’s Merseyside Maritime Museum, INOVYN was awarded the Apprentice Ship Cup for 2018. “That was a big surprise,” said Brian.
The Cup recognises the importance of the role played by the sponsors – and the work they do behind the scenes to support their graduates and promote the event.
INOVYN won it for a combination of the graduates’ attitude together with the professional dealings with Brian and Procurement Manager Joanne Skyner.
INEOS is gaining quite a reputation among graduates – both inside and outside the company.
Those who join INEOS know that a real job, training and incredible experiences await them from day one.
“It is starting to set us apart from other companies,” said Brian.
In May this year, INEOS will once again take a group of its 3rd year graduates to Africa to embark on a 250km run and cycle through the untouched Namibian desert.
“We love challenges like these because it is an opportunity to take the graduates into a very different environment and test their ability to adapt quickly,” said Brian. “These opportunities also help them to discover what unique qualities they have and show them what they can achieve by working as a team.”
Not only has the experience on board the TS Morgenster shown INOVYN’s graduates the importance of communication and teamwork, they have also learned a thing or two about sailing and that the best way to a happy crew is to keep everyone fed and watered.
“The whole experience has definitely brought us all closer together,” said Josh. “And that’s really useful given that we share an office.”