Published: November 3, 2014

A new 45,000 sq ft state-of-the-art training centre, representing a multi-million pound investment by global security and risk management specialist, Pilgrims Group Limited, has opened for business.

The European headquarters for Pilgrims Training Academy, based near Redhill, in Surrey, has 13,000 sq ft of office space as well as 32,000 sq ft of indoor warehouse space. It will enable Pilgrims award winning training division to provide both high-tech classroom training and real-life style scenarios in a large mock town which is being created, like a film set, inside the giant space.

The facility will provide delegates with what they believe to be the most advanced and comprehensive corporate safety and security training centre in the UK, tailored to deliver a wide range of bespoke training to businesses, governments, NGOs and individuals, as well as media safety training for teams preparing to deploy to high risk environments.

Conveniently close to major transport links, including Gatwick Airport, Pilgrims is determined that its new Training Academy will be a ‘centre of excellence’ within Europe in specialist security training, attracting customers from a wide range of sectors across the UK and worldwide.

Pilgrims COO, David Freear, explains: “We will be able to run multiple courses simultaneously at the Centre, which has very modern classrooms with 160 inch screen facilities and excellent sound systems. We are currently building a small town within the warehouse with houses, streets, cafés, shops and government buildings, literally anything you would find in an urban environment.”

“We will also be including a major building collapse set to allow clients to test their contingency plans and first aid response abilities,” he continues. “It will all be as realistic as it needs to be, so instead of people having to train twice, once in the field and then in a classroom, we can provide a one-stop shop. It creates an urban environment which is where most people will be sent to work – something that can’t often be replicated in the field. This 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 is much closer to what most people might face in real life situations.”

Although there are huge plans for its future development, the building already has a mocked up village in place and the company is hosting a range of courses at the Centre, including Fastrack HEAT™, SAFE™ and SAFE Plus™. The plan is to develop capacity for more courses in a wide range of subjects, including medical trauma, tactical training for police forces and disaster scenarios, as well as standard health and safety and security industry training.

Freear continues: “This facility allows us to put pretty much anything together, such as a 30 vehicle pileup disaster scenario which we did for one of our pharmaceutical clients, as well as a wide range of other incidents that clients may face. Whatever people need, with this new facility we can probably create it for them. We are linking the training into our E-Learning programme and can video the scenarios we create to make them available online both for analysis and for those unable to attend.”

Pilgrims Training was voted Security Training Initiative of the Year 2012 and was a finalist in the 2013 Security Excellence Awards. The company has also been announced as a finalist in the 2014 awards in two categories, for training and customer care.

The Training Academy represents an investment by the Pilgrims Group of around £5 million over the next ten years. “This opening represents a very exciting time of growth for our company and some incredible opportunities,” says Freear.

The Centre is open for business seven days a week and, in the months to come, will also offer corporate team building days, conference facilities and activities for children, including Airsoft challenges and Nerf (soft foam weaponry) games, that the local and wider community can use at weekends.

An official opening of the new Centre is planned for 2015. More information about the range of training courses provided by Pilgrims Group can be found by at http://www.pilgrimsgroup.com

Pilgrims global headquarters remains in Woking, Surrey.