SOUTH Wales Police is currently working with Welsh training company, Call of the Wild, on a series of innovative, online and in-person training courses, as it invests in its senior staff and future leaders.  

The police force has already put several of its most promising future leaders through an extensive training programme with the Brecon Beacons-based training company, with a final follow-up day scheduled in April, in which they will review how they are putting the training into practice. 

The courses have been aimed at improving the participants’ leadership, teambuilding, and people management skills, as well as addressing strategies to improve their mental resilience in challenging situations. 

The extensive course contained seven modules, the first six of which took place online using Call of the Wild’s innovative video content. The other sessions have all taken place in-person at Call of the Wild’s Brecon Beacons headquarters. 

Call of the Wild’s offering has always been rooted in its incredible surroundings of the Brecon Beacons, but the firm was quick to pivot its offering when lockdown measures were introduced in March 2020.  

Its adaptation to an online environment was especially innovative, as the business has developed new and unique ways of delivering its courses to ensure they continue to be an immersive and challenging experience – even when completed virtually. 

The company continues to utilise the incredible landscape and geography around its headquarters by bringing the ruggedness of its outdoor pursuits to the screen – filming various scenarios and allowing participants to decide on different outcomes. 

One of these virtual training sessions, called ‘Behind Enemy Lines’, uses footage of real geographical features – including rivers, rapids, caves and cliffs – and the physical challenges they present, to offer participants fully immersive scenario-based exercises that replicate the experience of actually being in the Brecon Beacons. 

Through this virtual world, participants need to work as a team to journey across the wild landscape, while simultaneously completing tasks and challenges to obtain clues. In one scenario, coordinates will lead the team to a downed plane in the area, where they must find the pilot and extract him from the mountains as quickly as possible. 

This innovative training programme has allowed South Wales Police to invest in staff without spending excess time travelling to and from a training venue, and has enabled them to limit external contact during the pandemic.   

Debbie Williams, Assistant Director of Learning and Development Service at South Wales Police, said: “The pandemic presented us with a number of challenges, which included a need to adapt our training and develop strategy to ensure we could continue to invest in organisational leadership, while also keeping colleagues safe.  

“Thankfully we’ve been able to achieve that, by introducing a solution which is creative and still close to the real-life, high-pressured scenarios our police leaders are likely to encounter during their careers.  

“The individuals chosen to attend the courses have all been identified as future leaders within our force, and the skills and strategies they develop will undoubtedly help to ensure that South Wales Police can keep our communities safe well into the future”  

Francesca Burrows, training manager at Call of the Wild, said: “The courses we provide are tailored to the specific needs of the clients we help. In the case of South Wales Police, we have focussed on building leadership skills and resilience. Due to the Covid pandemic, we have adapted many of the courses we would usually do in-situ into a virtual form, which has been welcomed by clients across the world, and is something we will continue.  

“As restrictions open up, we are resuming our Brecon-based outdoor training, but the virtual option will always be there if people are unable to travel to us.” 

Call of the Wild works very closely with its clients across the UK, many of them blue chip, to create tailor-made learning and team-building sessions, identifying the specific needs and aims of each client. Its bespoke courses focus on achieving desired outcomes by creating positive behavioural change within the workplace. The programmes all have measurable outcomes and are aimed specifically at delivering a return on the client’s investment.