Security an Ideal ‘Second Career’ for Ex-Forces Personnel

trevor elliot

Photo: Trevor Elliott, Director of Manpower and Membership Services

As the UK observes Remembrance Day in memory of those who have been affected by war and conflict, the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) is highlighting the career challenges often faced by those leaving the armed forces, and the opportunities presented by the UK’s private security industry.

More than 20,000 skilled and experienced individuals leave the armed forces every year, and for many, leaving behind the unique structure of forces life can be a challenge, particularly when it comes to making the move to a new career. A study commissioned last year by the BSIA revealed that roles within the private security industry are popular among ex-forces personnel, whose skills and experience can bring many benefits to security employers.

Indeed, the BSIA’s research showed that 92.6% of BSIA members considered ex-forces personnel to be suitable candidates for security roles, with self-discipline, motivation, an awareness of security challenges and dealing with conflict situations cited among the key reasons why. 100% also felt that candidates would transition well into a supervisory role, while 95.7% agreed that managerial roles would also suit individuals with a military background.

The BSIA itself employs its fair share of ex-forces personnel, including Director of Manpower and Membership Services, Trevor Elliott, who served in the Scots Guards for a decade, including active service in the Falklands War. Speaking about his own experience, Trevor commented:

“When I left the Army in 1987, there was a career choice to make. What did I want to do? Following a lot of soul searching, a career in the security industry seemed like the logical choice for me, with a wide variety of opportunities available. Very quickly, it became obvious that by working hard, approaching work in a disciplined manner and with a willingness to learn new skill sets, I was able to progress and develop a successful second career in ‘civvy street.’

“One of the main attractions of the security industry for me is the constantly evolving face of security. There is always a buzz and a level of anticipation which keeps me interested and looking for the next challenge.”

For some, transitioning into a career in the security industry can be a difficult adjustment, however, there are organisations available to provide transitional support or training to ensure that personnel are completely ready for their new roles.

The Career Transition Partnership (CTP) is the official provider of resettlement support for leavers of the Armed Forces. Discussing the opportunities for service leavers within the industry, David Duffy, Managing Director of the CTP, comments:

“Careers within the security industry are suitable for service leavers who wish to build on the experience gained throughout their military careers and move to a sector that offers opportunities that match their transferrable skills and employment aspirations.

“The CTP offers a wide range of security courses at all levels and a number accredited training providers on the CTP Preferred Supplier list offer industry related courses. Feedback from the organisations within the security industry who use the no-cost recruitment solution the CTP provides reflects that the skills gained in the military, along with personal qualities service leavers have in abundance, make them a natural fit for the various career paths on offer in the security sector.”

For those about to leave the armed forces, members of the BSIA’s dedicated Training Providers Section can offer expert guidance on the basic training requirements for those wishing to work in security, and can be a great source of advice for both security companies and individuals who are looking to procure training for their roles. Courses can be taken in areas such as CCTV, alarms, access control, door supervision, control room operations and management training, offering a comprehensive range of state of the art equipment to learn on and professionally qualified tutors with real world experience of the industry.

Speaking about the Remembrance Day commemoration, Trevor Elliott continued:

“This year’s Armistice Day is particularly poignant, with 2014 marking 100 years since the outbreak of World War One. Thankfully, those involved in conflict in the modern age have access to a wide range of opportunities on leaving active service, and I am pleased that the private security industry is playing an active part in facilitating the transition to civilian life for many of our country’s brave servicemen and women.”

To find out more about the courses offered by members of the BSIA’s Training Providers Section, visit, or for more information about the Career Transition Partnership, visit

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