2014 marks the 15th anniversary of The Security Institute, and this pillar of the security industry shows no sign of slowing down. The Institute has gone from strength to strength since its foundation and membership continues to grow year on year.
Emma Shaw, Chairman of The Security Institute, is proud of the organisation’s heritage and all that it has managed to accomplish. She said, “The Security Institute was established by a small but committed group of senior security professionals from within the industry, who wanted to establish a UK-based organisation. They wanted a group that would be able to develop standards for the security industry, recognising the benefits of working together to share knowledge and experience.
“At the time, higher education qualifications in security just didn’t exist, so the validation process – developed and introduced by The Security Institute – recognised the life-long experiences which those working in the security sector had developed. It’s hugely satisfying to see the goals of those few determined individuals come to fruition and thrive.”
The credibility of the process patented by the Institute is clearly appreciated and valued across the whole security sector, as reflected in ongoing membership growth and industry response. To date there are 1,357 members, from across the globe and from every industry imaginable, including oil companies, armed services, police, government, retail, IT, banking, installers, gaming, critical infrastructure, pharmaceutical, health, education, training, travel, consultancy, and legal firms.
Some of the household names members work for include Rolls Royce, William Hill, McDonalds, BT, Barclays, GlaxoSmithKline, Transport for London, the NHS and Disney.
Membership is also diverse in terms of individuals as the Institute offers different grades based on an individual’s experience. As well as senior security professionals with years of experience there are also student members who are just beginning their security careers, and plenty in between the two extremes.
The consistent membership growth trend is truly remarkable when you consider the not-for-profit organisation is run by a volunteer board of directors and a small group of employed individuals.
Shaw said, “As the Institute has grown year on year, we have increased the number of people employed at head office, but it’s still a relatively small team. To ensure we punch above our weight in terms of stakeholder communication, we have developed an efficient and direct process that ensures we get our message out efficiently.”
She goes on to provide an insight into an average week at HQ for the Institute’s team, saying, “Just this week (and it’s a typical week) we have sent out over 13,000 e-mails to our various contacts, sent multiple tweets and updates to our LinkedIn members and corporate pages, attended and presented at the University of Leicester study school, attended and presented at the Total Security Summit, published an article in the trade magazine of Counter Terror Expo 2014 and organised and hosted a dinner at the House of Commons. Okay, dinner at the House of Commons is not typical, but you get the picture!”
This small window into the dedication of the Institute proves how hard everyone involved works to support the organisation’s members. Everything revolves around helping members grow and develop new connections and skills, and there a range of benefits that membership has to offer.
According to Shaw, at a basic level membership alone is a major benefit. As membership is based on individual’s ability to demonstrate their education or experience, it is guaranteed that every member is a true security professional. This validation process makes membership a credible component of someone’s professional profile and reputation.
Expanding on the many benefits of membership, Shaw said, “The Institute offers all members access to a range of internationally recognised qualifications via our training partner Perpetuity Training, enabling members to support their practical experience with academic achievement. This supports a central strand of what we are working to accomplish in terms of promoting security as a profession.
“We also encourage our members to sign up for our Continual Professional Development (CPD) programme,” She added. “This allows them to record any professional achievements online. Members can also gain CPD points for any work undertaken on behalf of the Institute, such as speaking at events, contributing news to the media, or running master classes on security-related themes.”
The Institute also offers mentoring, matching individuals based on experience and location, giving members someone to turn to for advice and support. Networking is something else that helps members grow, and the Institute offers opportunities both virtually and via a range of events and exhibitions for professionals to meet and develop new relationships. Events are often arranged around established trade shows as many members are often already in attendance.
Gerrard Ellis is a member of The Security Institute and Managing Director of Stand2 (Specialist Training & Development) Ltd. He said, “I joined The Security Institute in 2004 and it has benefited me in two main ways. First and foremost, membership gave me a recognised external validation of my security experience. This was enormously useful in building my training business. Secondly, membership has helped me from a networking perspective – it’s useful to meet fellow professionals to swap experiences and to talk through issues. Most security related events, conferences or exhibitions have someone from the Institute or other members present so it’s always nice to see a friendly face and catch up.”
The Security Institute has a bright future ahead as it builds on previous successes. As Shaw highlights, the organisation is already moving onwards and upwards. “2014, marking the 15th anniversary of the Institute, got off to a strong start with the appointment of David Thorp as Managing Director, an entirely new role within the organisation. This really demonstrates our intention to begin the next stage of our development. We have ambitious growth plans for the next 18 months and hope to significantly increase the number of members and the strength of our voice in the sector,” she said.
David Thorp, as new Managing Director, is eager to lift the organisation to new heights and comes to the role with vigour and vision for the future.
“I see The Security Institute as the ‘go-to’ organisation for anyone who needs to understand security, build a career in security, promote the art and science of security and give something back to their profession,” David said. “I see us developing the gravity that will make us unavoidable, sitting at the very heart of the profession. In time I want us to be recognised as the trusted voice of the profession.”
It seems that there is nothing that can hold this 15-year-old organisation back. It has the mission, the members, and the momentum to advance its already well-respected standing within the security industry and achieve its goals.