With the introduction of the Private Security Industry Act 2001, the security industry became a lot more professionalised. Whilst anyone can train to be a security officer, companies can no longer hire people off the street to provide security and ‘licensable’ activities. In the modern security sector, you have to gain professional qualifications to become a security officer. Training as a security guard equips you with a valuable and desirable skillset, as well as a multitude of soft and interpersonal skills. Taking the first steps into the security industry could lead to an exciting career with countless opportunities for progression.
Are you looking to work in the security sector? If so, take a look at our top 5 tips for those wishing to enter the industry.
Qualifying and training for an SIA licence is extremely important to anyone wishing to work as a security officer. It’s a criminal offence to take on security work without a proper SIA licence and you could end up with six months in prison, or a £5,000 fine if caught providing ‘licensable’ activities without the proper qualifications.
The SIA licence is issued by the Security Industry Authority, the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry. In order to qualify for the licence, you have to complete training and pass exams, covering topics such as security guarding, door supervision, close protection, cash and valuables in transit, public space surveillance using CCTV, key holding and vehicle immobilising.
As well as passing the SIA training programme, to qualify for an SIA licence, you must also:
If you’re looking for financial support to get you through your SIA qualifications, then a security apprenticeship could be the right move for you. Many security companies have apprenticeship schemes that require no previous experience in the security industry, whether that’s in an office role or as a security officer. If you apply for a security guard apprenticeship, your employees will often cover the costs of your SIA qualification and training, and you may even receive an employee wage and other employee perks at the same time.
To apply for a security guard apprenticeship, you’ll need to be:
Once you’ve got your licence, it’s time to start applying for security roles. For this, you’ll need a CV, cover letter and two references. You’ll also need to be able to prove you hold the relevant qualifications. It’s important to know the role you’re applying for, what will be required of you and the skillsets the employer is looking for- and to demonstrate this knowledge and understanding in your cover letter. Some of the soft skills security employers value highly are: customer service skills, problem solving and good communication. If you have held previous positions which have involved these skills and abilities, make sure to put them down on your application.
Once you’ve sent off your applications, you’ll hopefully start receiving offers for interviews. Interviews are a great opportunity to sell yourself and your skills in person and can be make-or-break for a job offer. Preparation is essential for a successful interview. Here are some tips for preparing:
Make sure you research the company beforehand and think about why you want to work for this particular company. It’s a question that often comes up and it’s a chance to demonstrate that you’re genuinely interested in their company.
Know your CV in and out. Your interviewer will no doubt use your CV as a talking point and could base their questions on the items on your CV.
Understand the job description. This will help you to answer questions about what is expected of you.
Use the STAR method to demonstrate competencies e.g those “Tell me about a time when…” questions. Thinking of the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action and Result) will help you nail those questions in a structured and succinct way.
Like when applying for any job, there’s always a chance you may receive a rejection. As disheartening as this can be, it’s important to reflect on why you weren’t selected for the role and potential areas for improvement, whilst avoiding negativity and self-criticism.
If you applied for a position but weren’t put forward for an interview, review your CV and cover letter and look for where improvements could be made. Maybe you didn’t cover the job description in your cover letter, or you didn’t maximise your experience or skillsets on your CV. If you made it as far as an interview, think about how you can improve your performance next time, whether that’s preparing better, planning answers to potential questions or controlling nerves.
No matter what happens, keep applying for jobs. Staying positive and maintaining momentum is essential to achieving success.
Churchill Support Services is a leading cross-industry security company supplying professional and comprehensive security solutions to organisations seeking expert Security Guards, CCTV & Event Security, Key Holding & Alarm Response, Mobile Patrols and Thermal Imaging & People Flow.
To find out more about how Churchill Support Services can protect your business, contact us today.