Counter IED training
SafeLane HQ staff have been fortunate to receive three days' counter IED (C-IED) training from experienced search professional and training and mentoring expert Vikki Williams.
From the commercial department to the manpower team, from project execs to marketing and finance, SafeLane's staff at HQ work in support of their field colleagues who are on projects globally.
Apart from senior managers, few HQ staff have military experience, fewer have experience of the day to day realities of their colleagues who are supporting humanitarian missions in some of the most remote and hostile nations in the world.
Training needs analysis
As soon as this knowledge gap was highlighted, SafeLane senior managers responded immediately by tasking experienced counter IED search specialist Vikki Williams with creating and delivering an intensive three day training program to all HQ staff.
As an army reservist, Vikki had extensive operational experience in multiple nations as a search expert within counter IED (C-IED) teams.
Thereafter, she embarked on a career in training and mentoring as a consultant, where she first worked for SafeLane as a search trainer and mentor on project in Somalia.
Speaking about the scope of the C-IED course she prepared for HQ, Vikki said:
"Developing this course provided me with an interesting challenge. I needed to ensure I delivered an appropriate level of counter IED training so all SafeLane HQ personnel received relevant understanding of what is a broad and very complex subject matter.
"The design of the course was therefore based around ensuring everyone went away with a level benchmark of understanding - as well as a greater appreciation of the roles their colleagues in the field fulfil.
"Having been fortunate enough to work in the field and at HQ previously for SafeLane, I have a really good understanding of just how hard everyone works in both environments.
"Mutual respect is absolutely deserved.
"I also know that despite their best efforts however, some HQ staff don't always use the correct terminology with their field colleagues, or necessarily understand the intricacies of their critical roles - and something as simple as this can create a niggle that then has to be overcome.
"So, a core personal goal for me when creating and delivering this course was ensuring the hardworking HQ staff have the tools and terminology, understanding and appreciation they need to gain the respect they deserve from their field colleagues - and absolutely vice versa."
About the C-IED course
The course was pitched to enable HQ staff to more effectively communicate with their field colleagues, and to give everyone an understanding of the operational challenges their colleagues face when training, mentoring and operational in ongoing conflict zones.
One of the attendees was project executive Kelly Durnan, who said:
"This course has given me much more understanding and respect for the guys in the field, as well as offering me ideas about how to better support my projects in both post-conflict and conflict zones.
"I believe the training will help us to continue to break down any perceived barriers between field and HQ relationships, by giving us not only topics to discuss, but a deeper understanding and respect of the underlining aim of our missions.
"When thinking about future bids and ongoing project planning, it has given me a wider understanding of the importance of costing in time for training, revision, revalidation and certainly suitable equipment for each theatre of operations."
Benefits of group C-IED training
The training was neatly and palatably divided into multiple lessons, with attendees able to come and go depending on their base level of understanding.
One staff member who attended the entire course was bid writer Lucy Bainbridge, one of SafeLane's newest recruits.
"The C-IED training has given me a solid understanding of the specialist terminology in the industry, as well as the operational realities of delivering a project. As a result, I am now better able to construct a bid that successfully serves all client requirements and can illustrate complex technical knowledge in a compelling and comprehensive way.
"Receiving this specialist training has been fascinating, and Vikki has such an engaging style she's retained everyone's interest and ensured we've had fun along the way."
Scope for the application of the C-IED training
As a manpower executive, responsible for supporting bids and projects via the recruitment of the right people for any given role, Rebecca Wright said she found the course revolutionary.
"This C-IED training has really opened my eyes to the knowledge, bravery and commitment our field guys show each and every day in their line of work.
"I now feel much more confident in using technical terminology with our contractors, whilst also having a wider understanding of operational procedures, techniques and equipment.
"From a recruitment perspective, I have a greater appreciation for the applicability of military qualifications and operational experience to the roles that we recruit for. This will ensure appropriate allocation of manpower resources across SafeLane projects, to the wider benefit of our clients and the civilians who reside in the hostile and hazardous environments our operations breathe new life into.
"I have benefitted immensely from the course, and appreciate the amount of time Vikki has given to ensure my team has useful handouts, guidance and resources to help us with recruitment from now on."
Pitch perfect - how this C-IED training engaged everyone
By the nature of their roles, SafeLane's operations managers are among the most technically qualified staff at HQ - specifically qualified and experienced in many of the techniques and disciplines the company's field staff undertake daily.
For example, EOD 3 qualified Åsa Gilbert who worked for fourteen years in the humanitarian mine action sector before joining SafeLane.
As someone highly qualified and with so much practical experience, it was testament to Vikki's training programme that Åsa commented at the conclusion of the course:
"So much of what Vikki taught about the counter IED function, and the approach to IEDD in a live conflict zone, particularly the detail relating to the critical search function was new to me.
"Yes, I am aware of the terminology and would have felt confident using it before - but clearly, because I have learned so much, I would have been using the terminology incorrectly!
"So much of my experience has been in the post conflict mine clearance environment, working to IMAS, and so this training has been exceptionally beneficial as I advance my professional function at SafeLane."
For more information about the training courses SafeLane offers, the C-IED services it delivers or to enquire about field or HQ vacancies, contact us today.