A few of the Boomerang teams preparing to set off.

Young engineers boomerang around Europe

Boomerang is a yearly team building event open to young professionals in the construction sector to help raise money for the Fairbridge program working within the Prince’s Trust.

This year’s event, held on 11 February, was a huge success, raising a total in excess of £15,000 for the Fairbridge program working within the Prince’s Trust, which will go a long way to help the most disengaged and hard to reach young people in the UK.

There were 23 teams representing 16 different companies from the construction industry including BAA, Mace, Arup, Mott Macdonald, Rolls Royce and PWC.

The Boomerang challenge

The challenge faced by the teams was to blag, beg and borrow their way as far as possible from London and back again with 11 hours without spending a single penny. In total the teams travelled over 7,500 miles, with the winners successfully reaching Warsaw within the time limit.

The participants, mainly in fancy dress, utilised a variety of transportation methods including airplanes, tractors, golf buggies, Boris bikes, ferries, trains, a mobility scooter and even driving a tube train. Throughout the day the teams posted updates on their progress via Twitter and the organisers were overwhelmed by the imagination some of the teams showed.

Skills gained by taking part

“Obviously the participants successes were really linked to the skills they had in blagging travel, whether this be from their company or the train conductor,” says Ed Sayce, one of the Boomerang organisers. “I believe participating in an event like this develops the softer negotiation, persuasion and planning skills. All of which are vital in our jobs and all too often lacked by engineers,” he highlights.

A unique networking opportunity!

On completion of their travels the teams returned to London for a well deserved drinks reception and networking event. This was a lively event, especially as everyone had entertaining stories of their day to tell and proved to be a great icebreaker to continue the team building and industry networking nature of the event.

“The key professional benefit for the participants was attending the evening networking event, where there was a really social atmosphere. There was a wide range of professionals,” explains Sayce. “Clients, consultants and manufacturers represented many sectors, such as aviation, IT and comms, project management, engineering and management consulting.”

The evening culminated in the prize giving ceremony for Boomerang, the sponsors of which were Arup, Anixter, Baxi Commercial, Mott MacDonald, Good Eating Company, PPS Maintenance and Mustard Recruitment. Prizes included Kobo ereaders, Ipod shuffles and digital cameras.

The main prize categories were the furthest distance travelled and the most money raised for the Prince’s Trust. The winners, one of the teams representing Mace, raced ahead of the other teams, successfully blagging their way to Warsaw and as a result unsurprisingly raised the most money too. Other honourable mentions include the teams who reached Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Calais and Richmond!

It is fair to say that all the teams competing really engaged with the spirit of the event and as a result thoroughly enjoyed the day and made some new friends within their industry.

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