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Picking the best

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Published in BSIA Features

Choosing a Security Training Provider – picking the best from the rest.

In March 2015, an undercover BBC investigation uncovered evidence of security licences being fraudulently obtained in the UK. One month on, Matthew Grimley of the British Security Industry Association – the trade body representing the UK’s private security industry– discusses the importance of choosing a reputable training provider.

The BBC investigation discovered that two colleges in London were willing to help students cheat security exams, either by giving students the answers, sitting the exam on their behalf or fast-tracking them through the required 140 hours of training. Secretly filmed footage showed the college director offering to fast track a student to a close protection qualification without any training for a fee of £1,200. Worryingly, students who have fraudulently obtained Security Industry Authority (SIA) licences could now be working in front-line security roles.

In such a fast growing industry, with a huge variety of career opportunities, there is an increasing demand for security qualifications which can lead to an SIA licence. The BBC investigation highlighted the importance of choosing a reputable training provider to ensure the legitimacy of any qualifications awarded. Thousands of individuals may be affected by fraudulently obtained licences and could be working in the industry illegally, which carries a maximum six-month prison sentence.

The SIA – the regulatory body for the private security industry - states that it is essential that individuals working in the private security industry undergo a structured training programme that results in a recognised qualification. Without a recognised qualification, an SIA licence would not be issued and therefore the applicant could not legally undertake licensable activities. 

What to look for in a Security Training Provider

It is vitally important that security qualifications are obtained through a reputable training provider to ensure that they are awarded legitimately. There are additional business benefits in procuring the services of a good training provider, such as ensuring that staff are fully prepared for the challenges they may face in their role, and to give them the necessary skills and expertise to deliver the best possible customer service.

A good training provider will be an accredited training centre audited by a UKAS or Ofqual awarding body and have a variety of different courses for different disciplines which are offered at a range of levels. Training should be delivered by professionally qualified tutors – that is, they have a qualification in education and training as approved by the SIA – with ‘real world’ experience. Reputable training providers will also have professional learning environments with modern teaching aids and a comprehensive suite of industry specific equipment on which to learn.

Endorsement from a leading industry body such as the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) also shows a provider’s commitment to delivering a professional, quality service. Leading industry bodies will require members to meet strict quality criteria before they are formally recognised as members. Providers endorsed by industry bodies will usually have had to provide evidence of a quality management system such as ISO 9001:2008 and will have been vetted to ensure that they are financially sound, have adequate insurance, are soundly managed and conduct their business in a professional manner. Therefore, a provider who has recognised endorsements is best placed to ensure that security personnel are trained to the highest quality standards throughout each stage of their career.

The BSIA has had a dedicated section of membership for companies specialising in the provision of security training since 2012. The Training Providers Section is committed to working with fellow training providers, colleges, security companies, trade organisations and the Government to drive standards, increase professionalism and ultimately improve the standard of training offered in the security industry. As such, the section was compelled to speak out against training malpractice in light of the BBC’s investigation and totally endorsed the stance adopted by the BBC. The section is committed to sustaining high standards in performance and training in the security industry and has developed its own rigorous code of conduct. The section has also developed guides to help educate end users about the procurement of security training services and how to identify a reputable training provider.

Members of the BSIA’s Training Providers Section have expertise across all areas of the industry and can provide courses in subjects such as CCTV, door supervision, alarms and access control, control room operations and leadership and management. Their specialist knowledge enables them to deliver training in a wide range of challenging situations and trainers often possess higher levels of teaching qualification than their non-member counterparts.

Sourcing a reputable training provider

Choosing a training provider with the appropriate qualifications and experience to deliver high quality training courses can be challenging for any company looking to improve its employees’ knowledge and skills. Doing some basic research into any prospective provider can reassure end users that they are of good repute. A good training provider will possess all of the qualities discussed in this article and you can normally find evidence of this on the company’s website in the first instance. If you have any doubts, ask to visit the company’s premises to have a look around - the best training providers will proudly show off their facilities. 

If you have any concerns about a training provider - or suspect that any training provider is acting illegally - contact the Security Industry Authority through their website or by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Reputable training providers can be sourced through an industry body such as the BSIA, to find out more information about the BSIA’s Training Providers Section or to find your nearest reputable training provider, visit: