Being very sceptical of G4S after the Olympics I was advised by a close friend to do the Phoenix course as they have a global reputation for quality graduates. The course itself was very hard and very different. Phoenix focus very much on real life Close Protection work and not just hostile threats.
What I mean by this is a lot of companies focus only on hostile environments as that's what a lot and I mean a lot of ex forces personnel want (blazing guns and fast cars through Bagdad)!! The truth is that most Close Protection Officers will end up working in western cities i.e. London.
Personally I felt like I received a better deal as I am now more confident with working in hostile environments and non-hostile / harder environments i.e. looking after movie/pop stars. Trust me it is very, very hard work getting your VIP across a big city without the press noticing, or even just out of the airport!!
The course has no weapons training. As is mentioned in the brief, guns are banned in the UK and most international cities!!! Ask the Maritime guys, they all have trouble getting body armour and helmets in and out of countries!!
Everyone on my course said that it very much opened one's eyes as to the danger of the job and just how safe it can be if you have the right training, the right team and the right risk management/treat assessment!!
The course is 3 weeks long and has very, very long days!!! I remember going to sleep about 1am every morning haha.
Most of the course is spent on the road or on foot. The instructors are very much hands on and truly believe in practice and more practice.
There is unfortunately a theory side to it, hence the 1am going to bed... but then again there is A LOT to learn.
The accommodation is not the best and it is clear that G4S are in the game to make money, but they do make up for it with the truly excellent food that they provide.
Over all I truly rate this course as it is realistic and current with the times. Trust me, gone are the times of guns blazing and fast cars in Bagdad.