Security industry seen as ‘ideal’ for ex-forces personnel

Photo of security officersA recent survey of British Security Industry Association (BSIA) members has revealed that the private security industry can be an ideal career path for ex-armed forces personnel, with 88.2 per cent of respondents confirming that they already have, or have had, ex-armed forces personnel working within their organisation.

The private security sector is an exciting and growing industry, boasting a variety of different occupations across an array of specialities, and 92.6 per cent of BSIA survey respondents believed that ex-forces personnel would make suitable candidates for these roles.

When asked what qualities make ex-forces personnel so ideal for the industry, 59.1 per cent of respondents felt that the discipline gained from being in the forces made them most suitable, with 22.7 per cent believing that an astute awareness of security threats would also be beneficial. Motivation, alertness and an understanding of the array of security specifications across clients were also considered to be positive attributes.

Discussing the career paths that would be most fitting, 100 per cent respondents felt that a role as a Close Protection Operative or a Security Officer would be most suitable. Interestingly, 100 per cent also felt that candidates would also transition well into a supervisory role, with 95.7 per cent agreeing that a managerial role could also be career option. Other suitable roles included research and development, CCTV operator and security installer, highlighting just how varied the industry is.

It is also common for personnel to be promoted through the ranks in the security industry, and this is demonstrated by one of the BSIA’s own employees.

Trevor Elliott, BSIA Director of Manpower and Membership Services, spent 10 years in the Scots Guards from 1977 – 1987. After leaving the Forces, Trevor immediately entered the security industry, taking on a role as Supervisor for a shopping centre security team. Following this role, he pursued a short term role as a Close Protection Operative for a member of the Jordanian Royal Family before returning to security guarding as a Site Manager for a shopping centre.

imgres-1During 1990-1995 Trevor worked his way up through a number of managerial positions, including: Site Manager, Duty Manager and Contract Manager, before being promoted to Branch Manager for a national guarding company. Over the next 15 years, Trevor has progressed into various management roles, including Senior Contract Manager, General Manager, Account Director and Contract Director before joining the BSIA. Since leaving the forces, he has also undergone numerous training courses, both internal and external, allowing him to enhance his skill sets and develop as an individual, making him eligible for promotion into more senior roles.

Speaking on his experience, Elliott 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.”

Members of the Training Providers Section of the BSIA also have an extensive knowledge of 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.

Members of the BSIA’s Training Providers Section are committed to best practice, and earlier this year launched their official Code of Conduct, emphasising that all members of the section are dedicated to delivering a professional and quality service. Understanding just how important choosing a quality training provider is, the section also produced some ‘Top Tips’ for choosing a reliable training provider, available to read here:

To find out more about members of the BSIA, visit:

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