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Education for The Digital Age

by Brian Sims

eGuarding – a new programme of training for security officers – has been developed by security and risk management specialist Pilgrims Group to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the sector today. As David Freear outlines, this bespoke educational package is already delivering significant benefits for the company’s client base

Pilgrims Group’s eGuarding interactive online training package was formulated in-house and launched in August 2013. Pleasingly, in recent tests those members of staff who’ve already undertaken the training showed a 40% increase in their knowledge and ability to apply lessons learned to real life situations in their day-to-day tasks.

We developed the training in response to a number of challenges which can be found within today’s security guarding business sector, among them a lack of continuous education, officers not always being fully up-to-speed with standard operating procedures and, for some, the routine and perceived monotony of the role. Ultimately, all of these factors can mean that security officers may not be as alert and ready to deal with emergencies as they could or indeed should be.

The training system is designed to be simple, strongly visual, engaging and interactive, covering all of the key skills and competencies required of security officers.

We sought to energise something which challenges security officers to think, to understand how their roles fit into the bigger picture and provide regular assessments and practice. We wanted our officers to feel more motivated and further engaged with our clients’ businesses and therefore not just happier at work but, crucially, more responsive in their role.

The eGuarding package is now part of a wider programme of training, tracking, examinations and competencies which are monitored and lead towards the Pilgrims Competency Licence. To maintain their currency and continue to hold their licenses, each security officer must complete and pass an online assessment and examination on a regular basis.

Interactive and progressive

David Humm, security manager at one of our pharmaceutical clients’ sites, was one of the first individuals to complete the new training.

“When I was informed that Pilgrims was developing an e-Learning package,” explained Humm, “I hoped it would be interactive, progressive and, most importantly, offer me something that’s job-specific and relevant to my role. I’m really impressed with the work which has been put into the whole concept. I find the digital platform easy to navigate and operate and, thankfully, the course isn’t remotely boring as it really captures the user’s imagination.”

One of the major benefits for our customers is that this training can be tailored to the host organisation’s particular requirements which means they can have an interactive training package in place that’s bespoke, covering the specific threat and risk issues applicable to their operations.

The eGuarding course is being continually developed with further enhancements scheduled for incorporation across 2014-2015.

Centre of Excellence

Not long ago we also launched our £5 million Training Academy in Redhill, Surrey. This is a new Centre of Excellence for classroom-based and hands-on security training. The Academy enables us to provide both high-tech classroom training and true-to-life scenarios in a large ‘mock’ town which is being created inside the giant 45,000 sq ft space.

The building is a converted warehouse situated at the Orchard Business Centre in Salfords which was formerly owned by Toyota and used for training. The facility provides delegates with an advanced and comprehensive corporate safety and security training centre tailored to deliver a wide range of bespoke education for businesses, Government representatives, NGOs and individuals as well as media safety education aimed at those businesses currently preparing to deploy operatives within high risk environments.

As stated, we’re currently building a small town within the warehouse space complete with houses, streets, cafés, shops and Government buildings. Literally anything you would find in a typical urban environment.

A major building collapse set is being included to allow clients to test their contingency plans and First Aid response abilities. Everything will be as realistic as it needs to be. Instead of people having to train twice, once in the field and then again in a classroom, we can provide a one-stop shop.

The facility’s ‘urban environment’ will enable us to put delegates through various practical scenarios using our in-house team of actors/role players and run them through drills in a way that’s much closer to what most people might face in real life situations.

Pilgrims Group is hosting a range of courses at the Centre, including Fastrack HEAT, SAFE and SAFE Plus. The plan is to develop sufficient capacity for more courses in a wide range of subjects, including medical trauma, tactical training for police services and disaster scenarios as well as standard Health and Safety and security sector-focused instruction.

For instance, a new TraumaMed training course in managing serious injuries has been developed for the world’s media. The course, led by experts with hands-on experience of trauma medicine and operating in hostile environments, was developed in response to a request from the major US broadcaster NBC. It provides essential trauma medicine training and includes vehicle extraction techniques using easily available tools and equipment ranging from seat belts to reciprocating saws.

The TraumaMed course was developed with the aim of going into the subject more deeply than a typical First Aid course, demonstrating vital life-saving skills by dint of a no-nonsense, pragmatic approach. A challenge for the Pilgrims Group training team was to create realistic scenarios that were as life-like as possible, using role players and vehicle wreckages from which to extract casualties.

As well as a two-day practical course, the training includes e-Learning and is completely portable. Going forward, the plan is now to extend the training beyond the US.

In truth, the new Pilgrims Training Academy allows us to put pretty much anything together, such as a 30-vehicle pile-up disaster scenario – something created for one of our pharmaceutical clients – in addition to a wide range of other incidents that clients may face. Whatever customers may need, with this new facility we can probably create it for them.

Link to e-Learning

Importantly, we’re actively linking the training into our e-Learning programmes and can video the scenarios we create to make them available online both for analysis and those individuals unable to attend on the day.

David Freear

David Freear

The Centre of Excellence is open for business seven days a week and, in the months to come, will also offer corporate team building days and conference facilities that the local and wider community can use at weekends.

Working with end user customers, we’re able to conduct a training needs analysis based on their operation’s location(s), their expectations and their teams’ individual motivations and abilities. From here we design the course.

The course structure and training packages are carefully planned to ensure that clear objectives are met. Once candidates have completed a given course, its suitability is reviewed, updated and further developed by experts as required.

Pilgrims Group follows industry Best Practice in the development and delivery of all its education and training courses. The company strives to ensure that our experts are the best in their field, bringing with them the very latest thinking in their own skills arenas.

David Freear is Chief Operating Officer at Pilgrims Group

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