This guide supports facilitators as they prepare to deliver security training programmes. It provides advice and information on how to plan, organise and conduct the training and how to adapt the material.
Before undertaking any type of learning event, you should conduct a Learning Needs Assessment (LNA) to better understand the security training requirements of different groups of staff or organisations within the planned location. The LNA also helps you to define the content and structure of the training.
It is also crucial to identify the specific security and safety challenges faced by aid organisations and staff in that location, so the sessions can be adjusted to ensure that these issues are addressed appropriately.
How you plan and deliver the training programmes will depend on the context, the participants, and the time available. The time suggested for each programme reflects the minimum hours required to deliver the content. However, it is intended to be flexible, and the training could be spread out over a longer period, for example the Personal Security & Safety Course could be run as a two-day course. Indeed, this is actively encouraged, as it would provide more time for discussion, exercises, and additional content.
All security programmes within the training pack use participatory methods including group work, small group discussion, case studies, videos clips and presentations. The session plans also provide links to additional resources that can be used to reinforce the learning.
The training pack provides sample agendas for each of the different training programmes. You should adapt the agendas and the timings of the different sessions to suit the working day, and timings of breaks and lunches, within the planned location.
Each programme is designed to maximise participation through group work and small group discussion, so it is important to keep the number attending relatively small, ideally no more than 20 participants. A smaller group enables you to ensure all participants are engaged during discussions, and that feedback time from the exercises does not overrun into other sessions. Should the training audience need to be much larger, you will need to make adjustment to the session timings and size of working groups.
Training venue and room layout
Selecting a suitable venue for training is important. If there is sufficient space within your office, you can use this space. While this helps to minimise the costs, it does have some drawbacks, allowing participants to be distracted by their daily duties.
If you plan to use an external venue, there are a few things to consider:
- Ensure the venue is in a secure area – make sure that the location is easily and safely reached by all participants.
- Plan for adequate space – there should be space for general sessions and breakout areas for group work.
- Ensure the space is accessible – the building and its accessibility should suit the diversity of prospective participants, including wheelchair users.
- Confirm that the space is suitable for productive learning – the rooms should be large enough for the number of participants, be away from other events and distracting noise, with natural light so people remain engaged, and with refreshments and toilets located nearby.
- Check the audio-visual and technology available – check the venue has audio-visual equipment, internet/wireless access (with sufficient bandwidth), consistent power supply, and that the rooms are air conditioned or heated.
- Conduct a site visit – if possible, visit the venue beforehand to confirm that it meets your needs and to familiarise yourself with the emergency escape plans and routes.
There are various possible configurations for the room. You need to decide the layout that is appropriate for your style, the size and configuration of the room, and the number of participants.
Possible layouts include: ‘cabaret or café style’, ‘classroom style’ and ‘U-shaped style’.
If the room is not large enough for participants to work in groups, you will need to have additional breakout space for group work. Make sure it is as near to the training room as possible.
Training materials and delivery
The training pack provides all the materials required to deliver different security training programmes. Each programme includes detailed session plans with learning outcomes, suggested activities and timings, exercise handouts, additional information for facilitators, and PowerPoint presentations.
Planning and conducting training requires a significant amount of preparation. It is crucial that you are familiar with the training materials and allocate sufficient time to understand how the sessions flow into each other.
You will also need to spend time ahead of the training adapting the materials to ensure the content is specific to your audience and location. The session plans provide advice on how best to contextualise the material. Use these guides to adapt the slides and exercises to suit the local context and ensure the most relevant information is used.
The time required to facilitate each session depends on the size of the group, the level of experience of the participants, and the topics discussed. To cover the material in the time available, you may need to make adjustments to the specific issues covered in each session. You will need to use your judgment and assess the group to prioritise what to leave out or cover more quickly. Although it is possible to adjust the timing of the breaks (longer/shorter, earlier/later), it is advisable to make sure you start and end as communicated on the agenda. Try to maintain the right balance of presentations and the discussion exercises.
While the training materials are designed to be adjusted to suit the local context, and may be tweaked to suit your preferred training style, it is important to make sure that the main learning objectives are covered.
Although session plans contain an overview of the issues and topics to discuss, you are encouraged to add your own anecdotes and experiences to provide contextual learning for the participants. Several exercises make use of generic context examples and can be run as they are, although it is highly recommended to adapt the materials to make them more relevant and realistic to participants’ operating context.
End of training evaluations or reviews are useful to understand how well the training was received and to strengthen future trainings. Verify if participants have understood the materials and topics covered, what they found useful, and what they would recommend for improving the training. It is important to take the evaluations seriously, but at the same time do not take any individual comments personally.
A sample evaluation form is provided. If you are running internal trainings then use the evaluation forms adopted by your organisation, if available.
- Read all the materials – make sure you read all the session plans. Note areas that require additional preparation – handouts, flipcharts, adapting slides and other training materials.
- Check technology, logistics and access – ensure you have all the required equipment (visuals and sound), and that they are working. Make sure the room is big enough, with breakout areas, and that refreshments and meals are available. Ensure the space is accessible for all participants and familiarise yourself with the emergency exits.
- Know the audience – assess the experience level of the audience and adjust the materials and your approach to suit. Be aware of any existing dynamics among participants or potential challenges, and try to address these before the training starts.
- Understand cultural norms and learning approaches – identify the training style that is most appropriate for this group. Ensure a safe learning environment so participants feel respected, and able to share their experiences and raise questions.
- Be aware of gender dynamics – where possible, try to ensure a balance of genders in the group to aid discussion and understanding of all.
- Be mindful of participants’ needs – identify participants with additional needs to ensure there are no barriers to their participation. Confidentially discuss these with the individuals themselves before the training to enable any adaptations required.
- Be sensitive to participants who may have experienced traumatic incidents – security training covers topics that can be traumatic, and the subjects discussed may cause a participant to feel uncomfortable. Before and during the training, alert participants to the material to be covered and provide a safe opportunity, in private, for individuals to voice any concerns.
- Be familiar with adult learning approaches – remember that participants are experienced adults. Sitting still listening to one person talking can easily drain energy. Participants learn more and enjoy the training more if they can engage and discuss issues with others.
- Keep the goals in mind – always keep in mind the overall aim of the training and the learning outcomes. Continue to reference these throughout the training.