Human Competence Based Exercising and Simulation Training

Wayne Harrop, Yung-Fang Chen, Tony McAleavy, Ron Mountain
Centre for Disaster Management and Hazards Research
School of Energy, Construction and Environment


The problem

Exercises and simulations must be designed to assess and develop the incident management capability of those responsible within an organisation. The assurance behind any organisation’s business continuity, crisis management, security management, and emergency management capabilities must be comprehensively and independently proven to be reliable and fit for purpose. 

Group of emergency workers in a simulation

Exercise simulation is a vital step in achieving this assurance: no organisation should wait for a crisis to ascertain how successful basic training was. In a modern interconnected world, time and resources need to be invested wisely, the stakes are high and stakeholders demand rapid and effective response to incidents. A weak response can have profound and long lasting consequences for an organisation. With appropriate training and exercising, a suitable blend of human competence and organisational capabilities can come together to provide a crucial and decisive edge in overcoming unexpected and emergent threats.

The solution

In many sectors such as aviation, energy and health care, responder competence is systematically built through comprehensive training and problem based learning environments. This is because people are at the heart of any effective intervention. Although we recognise the importance of planning and the value of plans, incident responders must demonstrate optimal levels non-technical skills to manage a complex incident:

  • situational awareness;
  • decision making;
  • communications;
  • teamwork;
  • leadership;
  • management of stress and fatigue.

How can we help you?

We have dedicated professionals capable of creating immersive, contextual environments and oriented learning action exercises, simulations, drills and tests. We can provide table top or fully immersive exercise facilities, a full complement of 3D computer animation developers, and specialist facilitation teams this combined with the latest research allows us to provide you with a challenging scenario and effective evaluation to improve the performance of individuals, teams and organisations.

Person Explaining to People

We can help to:

  • develop bespoke competence based scenarios designed to develop human competence and critical non-technical skills required by incident management teams;
  • develop unique and highly interactive hybrid exercises that are immersive, built from a wealth of empirical data and research spanning a range of industry sectors; and
  • develop exercise programmes that build end-to-end competences in responders through the use of innovation exercise evaluation tied into training needs analysis systems.

The impact

We can support your first line responders to develop, test and retain vital practical and cognitive skills for a full range of incident management scenarios. For over 20 years we have been working with frontline emergency, crisis, security, and disaster management professionals and using innovative learning as a means of developing their human competences. We use virtual immersive environments, technologies, communication devices, mock organisations, live actors, market data to drive verisimilitude and action based learning right into the heart of the experience.

Case study

Our team recently designed and delivered Exercise Vapour Cloud to a group of delegates sponsored by Saudi Aramco.  Exercise Vapour Cloud used a hybrid method to develop participants’ capability to respond to a major oil rig explosion disaster.  A 16m panoramic screen at the Simulation Centre was used to simulate the explosions in the oil rig to enhance participants’ immersion in the exercise.

Role-play using professional actors was employed to enhance the realism of the exercise which also featured opportunities for assessing strategic decision making skills, using desk-based discussions, and effective methods of facing the media.

 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023