I needed to kill a couple of weeks. I decided to do that by continuing my education... Right after I'd finished and submitted my dissertation. Yep, I'm that guy.
Executive Close Protection course. Despite booking in on short notice, and despite arriving a couple of days after the course had started, I joined with my coursemates and put in a yeoman's effort to catch up on the bits that I'd missed. I was fortunate to join a solid "team" - although we were technically classmates, the two weeks we spent together basically amounted to two weeks of fairly hard work.
Overall, I think the course was valuable. Our instructor had several years of experience in executive close protection for several high profile clients, which allowed him to illustrate a number of concepts with anecdotes from his past. We covered topics including threat and risk assessments, vehicle and building search procedures, operational planning, venue security, convoy security, and surveillance, among others. Many of these were topics I was familiar with, or even fairly expert in, before I took the course; but the practice was good, as was seeing it employed in a different context than the ones I've typically been exposed to. There were a handful of topics that I would have omitted had I been orchestrating the course, but the overall course was a good use of two weeks of my life.
As I write this, I've just received notice that all four of us passed the final exam, and to the best of my knowledge we all received satisfactory marks on the final exercise as well. The certifying authority, Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance, will issue our certificates, at which point my colleagues will submit lengthier applications for their Security Industry Authority licenses, allowing them to work in the United Kingdom (or for UK-based companies operating overseas). For my purposes, the certification alone should be sufficient.
With two weeks down, I was off and running on a Monday morning to take care of some long standing obligations.