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Published: January 28, 2014

As part of its long standing relationship with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), risk management expert Pilgrims Group has developed a conflict management/self-defence course for deaf and hard of hearing employees.

Pilgrims Training Manager, Mo Ricketts, tailored its current course in response to a request from the FCO’s Head of Security Training Team, Gill Allen, who spearheaded the idea along with one of her team members.

“It is important that all staff feel confident and safe, and this applies just as much when working in London as working overseas” she explains. “A deaf officer approached me for a bespoke course as the self-defence training needs of deaf people are completely different to people with hearing. Their awareness is vision-based so, situationally, they can be less aware as they cannot hear shouts or approaches made to them.”

Members of the Pilgrims team met the FCO’s disability adviser and found out how to work with sign language interpreters and lip speakers, who also had to be part of the training. They spoke directly to the officers, facing them, and made the training scenarios very visual. They had to adapt some of the situations, for example talking on the phone, to texting.

“The attendees found the course really useful and great fun,” says Gill Allen.

One attendee said: “The course was awesome. The instructors were really knowledgeable and the statistics they gave us about phone muggings in London were a wake-up call to me. The way they explained what to do if you are involved in a mugging was clear and informative. I loved the practical part of the course. It was good to learn what to do in a visual way plus a lot of fun to actually get to throw some punches. The instructors were absolutely fantastic and worked really well with interpreters and the lip speakers.”

“This course, along with our existing award winning training with the FCO, reflects their proactive and dedicated approach to staff safety,” says Pilgrims COO, David Freear. “We’re proud to work with the FCO, Gill and her team and will continue to develop our courses using our global network of teams on the ground, to ensure that all our delegates are prepared with the most up to date information and skills to benefit them all over the world, whatever experiences they face.”