Our Story

I sit here on a rainy day in our New York office trying to decide how to explain our story. Creative writing certainly isn't a personal strong point but we do have a story to Reconnaissance, and specifically Illuminate, and like every company or organisation in the world their story should be told and told proudly!

I never finished school. What I mean to say is that while I did indeed drop out of secondary school in Ireland I did go on to be immersed in learning for the next 20 years.

I left school to join the Irish Defence Forces and did so in November 1999. I was immediately immersed in a training environment that only soldiers will understand, appreciate and in a somewhat sadistic way reminisce fondly on years later! For the next 7 years of my military life I was surrounded by some of the most fantastic instructors and educators in the Irish Defence Forces. People often do not understand that military life is primarily about training and preparation. 

During my military career I served with the UN in Lebanon and Liberia where our training was key to our success.

I qualified as Non Commissioned Officer in the Defence Forces early in my career and as such was taught the basics of instructing. I progressed through the organisation completing a number of instructor courses enabling me to train and educate soldiers in specific skills.

I fully enjoyed my experience in the Defence Forces and I learned a huge skill in training and learning from an organisation that has perfected the fundamentals.

Prior to leaving the Defence Forces I began a distance learning program with University of Leicester in Security Risk Management. While I enjoyed the subject matter I personally struggled with the delivery of the content. The University is a fantastic organisation but the real challenge for me was coming from such as hands-on training approach in the Army to a more remote and academic approach. When I undertook the distance learning program it was still achieved through postal services as opposed to the internet based solutions that University's can avail of today (wow, now I feel old!!) I successfully completed my course but in retrospect it would have been much more enjoyable in an online format.

I left the Defence Forces in 2006 and was about to experience my biggest learning curve to date! I travelled to Port Au Prince, Haiti and began a journey that I am still on to this day.

A journey that teaches me about culture, training, the personal struggles that people encounter and the need to invest in education and learning.

This journey allowed for the creation of Reconnaissance Group, Resilient Defence and Illuminate Learning. It's not my own personal journey, it’s a journey that consists of everyone in our organisation and while we celebrate the successes we have it is often the failures and struggles that drive us forward. This is the case with Illuminate Learning. As a company we employ over 1400 staff with offices in Haiti, US and Ireland. Our biggest challenge had always been training and ensuring that a standardised syllabus was delivered to all team members, and trust me, my lack of hair is a direct result of trying to achieve standardisation. In addition, the geographical spread of our business presents its own challenge as does the language and cultural differences. A large number of our customers are multinationals that experienced similar challenges and NGO's that often have budget challenges to their training programs. In 2011 a client approached us to develop some basic training in Occupational Health & Safety but the geographical spread was extremely prohibitive. So we set about developing a basic login section on our website and developed what would become Reconnaissance Awareness Programme aka Illuminate v.1. Internally we further developed this to our satisfy our own training needs and gradually developed training for existing clients.

As we developed training for clients we seen an opportunity to develop a bespoke solution to the challenges faced by organisations. We have launched Illuminate Learning to deliver an engaging and fun platform that empowers companies to educate and/or standardise training. I selected the name Illuminate because I strongly believe that training and education can bring team members out of the dark, bring them into the light and align the team with a broader goal or mission - Illuminate. 

People like to learn and more importantly like to belong to a community. That's what we hope to achieve with Illuminate Learning… a learning community specific to your needs.

Shane Henry