WHAT'S NEW - A Day In The Life Of: Keith Wright, Hostile Environment Training

A Day In The Life Of: Keith Wright, Hostile Environment Training

by Vandana Thanki

1. Tell us about yourself

I am the Head of Training for First Option’s Hostile Environment Training that is often referred to as HET.  I’m based at Salomons Estate just outside of Tunbridge Wells.  

I’m responsible for the co-ordination and delivery of the numerous HET courses that we deliver to various media companies and also non media clients such as the DIFID Stabilisation Unit.

It is a really enjoyable job, every day is different as all our clients have differing training requirements and delegates can attend the courses from between 2 to 5 days, so I have to be on top of course co-ordination at all times. 

I have a military background, I was one of the longest serving soldiers in 22 SAS and have been fortunate to travel the world and take part in numerous operational and training tasks.  As well as having developed a high degree of security expertise I also have a Diploma in Safety Management and have also benefitted from training such as the UK Special Forces Medical Course.

2. What is the impact of delivering a course during a pandemic?

We have just completed our first 5 day course after the relaxing of lockdown restrictions. It was great to be back training and I’m proud that we delivered this course as soon as it was possible to do so in line with government advice. We are fortunate that First Option has developed a number of Covid-19 mitigations through the production side of the business which has really helped us.  

We have introduced these into the way we have planned our courses and have often referred to the excellent First Option Yellow Book for guidance.  In addition, all our HET Instructors have completed the First Option Covid Awareness course.

As a result of this preparation we have been able to deliver the training safely and with little or no disruption to our schemes of work.  Medical training has been slightly modified, but we’ve treated the new environment we are working in to strengthen our training and make the absolute most of the resources we have.

I am very pleased with the way things have gone and what has been most encouraging is the feedback from delegates who were impressed with our Covid precautions/mitigations and how this gave them a sense of both safety and security as they progressed through the training. It is quite a step for many to go from ‘lockdown’ to attending a residential course.

3. How does the course help the delegates?

The main way the course helps the delegates is by giving them confidence to do their jobs well. This means the confidence to deliver lifesaving medical skills and to operate safely in high threat environments where they will have to make decisions that could affect not only themselves, but members of their team or the general public they are operating amongst. 

4. What are some of the frequently asked questions?

Medical questions top this.  Delegates often ask how the training can be adapted to life outside of a hostile environment and how this would benefit family and friends. We always make sure our medics have the time to work through particular concerns or worries that may be raised. They also ask on many occasions if I could accompany them on their deployments!