Rachel’s pressure cooker challenge

Photo Neil Cross'Business coach Rachel Haslam is organising an Apprentice-style challenge for Preston businesses

Photo Neil Cross'Business coach Rachel Haslam is organising an Apprentice-style challenge for Preston businesses

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A TEAM-building expert from Pilling is putting teams of businessmen and women through a gruelling Apprentice-style 24-hour challenge.

Rachel Haslam, managing director of office inspiration company Team Academy, is overseeing teams of six people from two companies in a pressure cooker environment as part of a new initiative run by the firm to help build confidence.

The exercise is designed to identify natural leaders and empower the men and women who lead them.

Rachel said: “The 24 Hours Challenge is uniquely demanding but it’s very rewarding for those who take part. Not only does it hone their team-working skills, it also gives a boost to the self-confidence of those taking part.

“Of course, the companies who employ these individuals are also winners because the 24 Hour Challenge boosts the skills of their employees and makes their teams more effective and therefore more productive.”

Although recognised as an expert in team building, Rachel spent her first 12 years of her working life as a sales representative with local radio stations across the North West.

She added: “I moved from local radio into the insurance and that is when my talent for people development and team building came to the fore. I seemed to have a talent for identifying the strengths of individuals and placing them in successful teams.”

Her powers of observation and talent for understanding the complexities of team dynamics led to rapid promotion to recruitment and training manager for a national company. But five years ago Rachel decided to set up on her own and created Team Academy.

In recent years her skills and her business have been recognised with a series of awards including Training & Coaching Company of The Year and Entrepreneur of the Year 2010.

Zoe Mitchell, head of human resources for Graduate Prospects of Manchester, who have six of their managers taking part in the 24 Hour Challenge, said: “These managers are key personnel so we will be very interested to see the impact of the challenge on their team performance.”