Ben is pictured at HEAT course during simulation training, Photo: RedR Australia June 24
04 Jul 2024
Ben is up for the challenge, taking on RedR Australia HEAT

In June this year RedR Australia delivered a fully booked Hostile Environments Awareness Training (HEAT) course at Mt Macedon. This was our fourth offering of the course this year and another opportunity to offer a scholarship for someone in the sector who has lived experience with disability.

One such participant was Ben who works as an Inclusion Advisor and is Blind, he applied for and was accepted for a sponsored training spot. We spoke with Ben before the course to make sure reasonable accommodations were made for his arrival, ensuring his time in class and in field simulations could be more inclusive.

Ben was keen to get the most out of his time at the HEAT course and left us some excellent detailed feedback. He said;

“I had the best time, learnt so much and I again thank you all so much for enabling me to participate as much as possible in the training; I did not feel like I had a disability at all, really felt part of the team which is sometimes rare in situations like that for us.”

Full immersion is an important part of the course no matter your experience, strengths, or challenges. The HEAT course is a five-day residential experience combined with practical and classroom learning every day. RedR Australia believes that the practical and simulation exercises are important elements for field preparedness.

The experiences and invaluable learning offered in the RedR Australia HEAT course aims to prepare and improve the safe reactions and behaviours for participants if they should be deployed into conflict or insecure zones.  And this is exactly the experience participants sign up for.

Ben explains; “While I was always aware of possible security challenges, I now have an excellent knowledge of what could possibly happen and most importantly, how to effectively deal with these potential challenges. I also learnt a valuable lesson about the need for me to look after myself better, especially following field trips and missions I regularly participate in. Not once have I ever properly debriefed, especially about challenges faced and distressing situations. I'll always be indebted to RedR trainers and my team during the training for enabling me to learn this valuable lesson.”

Offering meaningful inclusive training is an important step to better representation and inclusion for people with lived experience of disability. Making it easier for people to lead in spaces that have historically been about them, yet without them.

This year RedR Australia has made great efforts to spread the word and make our humanitarian training as accessible as possible. And it has been noticed, in the first six months we have accommodated four people living with disability on our courses and two humanitarian roster members in the field. It’s a great improvement on previous years and a sign of what is possible.

We are thrilled with the increased success and impact RedR Australia has worked towards regarding disability inclusion. We have learned as much from our participants as they have from us.

Ben is pictured on course with other teams during simulation training, Photo: RedR Australia June 2024

“I always felt like one of the team, never felt like I had a disability at all which is excellent. I will never ever forget this wonderful and challenging experience.” Ben- HEAT course graduate, June 2024.

To find out more about our training courses, sponsored places, or if you can help sponsor a participant to complete humanitarian training-

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