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Published:  24 July, 2014

Bilfinger Europa is working in partnership with the Wembley Stadium Centre of Excellence to provide a training course designed to help shopping centre management teams plan and manage events.

Held over two days at Wembley Stadium, The Event Safety Management in a Retail Environment course or CESP (Certificate in Event Safety Planning) has multiple aims and objectives with a focus on security and risk awareness.

Content is delivered via experienced speakers, the sharing of workplace case studies relevant to the retail environment and in learning from the stadium in full operational mode, and the aim is for attendees to leave with the confidence to plan and deliver events with a full understanding of the safety considerations.

“Part of my role as head of security for Europa is to work on strategy and bring in innovation, particularly where training is concerned,” says Ian Pugh. “More and more shopping centres are putting on major events and we saw an opportunity to tap into Wembley’s expertise and develop training for managing events in shopping centres.”

The first trial programme was delivered for eight attendees in October last year and was based around classroom learning and structured observation of the build up to the England Vs Montenegro football match.

“We wrote the programme from scratch with Bilfinger Europa, designing the subject matter in conjunction with Ian and his team,” explains Justine Shepherd, head of business development at Integrated Security Services, Wembley’s security provider and operator of the Wembley Stadium Centre of Excellence. “There are synergies between a stadium and a shopping centre in terms of the things you need to think about when planning big events.”

The course advocates a common sense approach to event safety, organisation and the legal requirements with attendees learning about event planning, management and operations, health & safety and risk assessment and preparing for unplanned incidents – all modules delivered with a focus on the retail environment.

“The challenge is that Wembley can control entrances through ticketing and barriers, but a shopping centre can’t,” says Pugh. “So what are the risks? And how can you mitigate those risks? The course equips centre managers, operations managers and security teams to learn about and understand the risks and how to plan and prepare for various outcomes.

“Attendees work on assessing risk on the first day – learning from expert speakers who pass on their skills, advice and best practice – and shadow the Wembley team in the build up to an event on the second day.”

The delegates observe the Wembley events team, sit in on briefing and debriefing sessions, visit the control room and shadow team members as they carry out pre-event inspections. And during the course, emphasis is placed on the transferrable lessons that can be applied to the attendees own venues.

Following the pilot programme nine months ago, Bilfinger Europa and Wembley have scheduled two more training sessions for later in the year. The idea is that the course acts as a basis for developing a greater understanding of crowd management and spectator safety, and where relevant, can be supplemented with the undertaking of NVQ Level 4 in Spectator Safety.

“Our clients were keen to learn from experts in the field and while there are courses in event management and door supervision, this is unique in that it is designed specifically for shopping centre staff,” says Pugh. “It provides confidence in the management of safety and security so that when shopping centre staff identify an opportunity to host an event, they can manage it effectively from conception to delivery.”