Landmark apprenticeship programme pioneered in Scotland is aiming to equip a generation of young people with skills for life, change perceptions of an industry and help it to overcome recruitment challenges.
The British Security Industry Association (BSIA), its training subsidiary Skills for Security and members SecuriGroup, have launched the UK’s first apprenticeship for front-line security personnel. Their aim is to tackle the outdated image of security and recruit younger people to the industry.
The UK is facing an acute shortage of security officers, an increased demand for security services, an ageing workforce, Brexit and fall-out from the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning around 62,000 new security officers are needed to meet demand and ensure public safety.
The landmark Security Officers Services Apprenticeship (Level 5 SVQ Apprenticeship in Providing Security Officer Services) was launched in Scotland in 2021 and has recently seen its first cohort complete the programme. It is a funded 12-month course that equips security personnel with the training, skills and expertise needed to be a modern, professional security officer. Areas of focus and learning include Fire Safety, Mental Health Awareness, Conflict Management, Counter Terrorism and Safeguarding.
Twenty five year old Marcia Mackay, now SIA-licensed Security Officer with SecuriGroup, is one of the first students to have completed the Security Officers Services Apprenticeship. Having gained the skills to tackle the latest security threats, she is now calling for other young people to consider a career in the industry.
Commenting on her apprenticeship, Marcia said: “I think there’s a real opportunity to change the industry. Getting more young people and women in is a big part of that. I think we’re compassionate. We listen. To get the best outcomes with the public, that's what you need. It’s also just a great place to grow life skills. Team working, social engagement, just stepping up and taking responsibility; I’ll be using those skills for the rest of my life.”
Marcia, who has been with SecuriGroup for six years, is now working towards further accreditation with the aim of becoming a security manager.
There are currently over 500 students on Skills for Security apprenticeships across the UK on courses that range from Fire Emergency and Security Systems to Security First Line Manager. It is anticipated that the Security Officers Services Apprenticeship will go live in the rest of the UK in summer 2023.
Mike Reddington, Chief Executive, BSIA said: “Recognised qualifications and defined career pathways are a key part in changing perceptions of what a role in the security industry looks like; it is an essential role in keeping people, property and places professionally protected.
“Young people like Marcia, who are completing their security apprenticeships are showing that there are very real opportunities for development - both personally and professionally. There’s more to a career in security than wearing a hi-viz vest.”
SecuriGroup has been delivering security training and apprenticeships for five years. It currently has 30 students enrolled on the Security Officers Services Apprenticeship programme.
David Brook, Training & Development Manager, SecuriGroup, commented: “We’ve been an approved training provider within the industry for more than 20 years. With our expertise, our commitment to quality and our robust assessor capabilities, we’re providing individuals with tangible and transferable skills, and creating the calibre of security professionals the industry needs.
“We will take our initial success with this programme and replicate it across Scotland becoming a benchmark for the UK in how security apprenticeships should be delivered.”