Career Paths in the Security Industry

Career Paths in the Security Industry

Are you thinking of starting a career in security? Working in security can be a very rewarding profession, though there are a few things to consider and essential criteria to meet before you can start.

The first step is to visit the Security Industry Authority (SIA) website where you will find lots of information about obtaining a SIA Licence.

It is a legal requirement to hold a valid SIA Licence to work in private security (there are a very few exceptions for this such as working ‘In-House’ security).

It is a good idea to view the licence criteria, to make sure you are picking the right sort of licence for the job you want. The SIA’s Get Licensed Publication is a good place to start.

In order to get a SIA licence, you must have undergone the appropriate training and obtained the necessary qualification. The necessary qualifications are all detailed on the SIA website.

If you don’t have sufficient training, you can use the SIA website to find a training provider in your area, so you can get the training you need.

There are 6 different types of licence:-

  • Cash & Valuables in Transit
  • Close Protection
  • Door Supervision
  • Public Space Surveillance (CCTV)
  • Security Guards
  • Vehicle Immobilisers (only in Northern Ireland)

Unsure of which licence you need? Below is a list of jobs which require particular licences. Please refer to the Get Licensing publication or the SIA’s website for further information.

  • If you are looking to work in Public Space Surveillance such as town centre CCTV, shopping centres or large leisure or exhibition establishments, you will need a Public Space Surveillance (CCTV) licence
  • If you want to work at a licensed venue such as a bar, nightclub or public event, you will need a Door Supervision licence
  • For general security roles such as corporate buildings, gatehouses, industrial estates and construction sites, you will need a Security Guard licence, although a Door Supervision licence will allow you to undertake this work
  • A Close Protection licence is for those who want to work in the security protection of VIP’s, celebrities, politicians etc.

You should also consider whether or not you are eligible for a SIA Licence, as background and criminal record checks will be done as part of this process. If you have a criminal record, this may prevent you from obtaining a licence, but not necessarily. To qualify to work in any front-line licensable activity, you must also be aged 18 or over, pass an identity and criminal record check, have the appropriate SIA recognised licence linked qualification and have the right to work in the United Kingdom.

Once you have followed these steps, the next step would be to send off your application for a SIA Licence through the SIA website.

Now you are licensed by the Security Industry Authority and can start working in private security.

Further Training

Perhaps you are already working in security but would like to progress with your training or career?

In the past, there have not been many viable career paths and courses available for development in a security role, but that is changing. There are now a variety of apprenticeships and courses which you can undertake to develop your skills and further your career, such as:

  • Level 2 Customer Service Practitioner
  • Level 2 Facilities Services Operative
  • Level 3 First Line Management
  • Level 3 Health & Safety in the Workplace
  • Level 4 Community Support Officer
  • Level 4 Facilities Manager
  • Level 5 Security Management
  • BSc (Hons) Risk & Security Management

The industry has further identified that there are also not many options for entry level courses and apprenticeships for security officers to start on the career path. The SIA and The Institute of Apprenticeships are working with security employers to develop a Level 2 Apprenticeship specific to the industry.

But don’t be put off thinking that the only way to develop and progress is by Apprenticeships and formal courses. There are a number of short courses you can enroll on which will give you more experience and knowledge in certain fields.

This includes Emergency First Aid At Work Training, which is set to become a condition of obtaining or renewing a SIA Licence. There are also courses available covering topics such as Health & Safety, Risk Assessment, Fire Marshal Training and Mental Health First Aid Training.

Completing additional training will put you in good stead for job roles and will help you to progress your career in security. Extra training will be beneficial, as you will improve your knowledge and understanding in different areas and these look impressive for future employers as well.

Please see below for links to documents and training mentioned in this article.

Click here to view the SIA’s Get Licensed publication

Click here for more information about Emergency First Aid at Work training, provided by St John Ambulance.

Click here for more information about Fire Marshal Training provided by St John Ambulance.

Click here to view a number of Mental Health Awareness courses, provided by St John Ambulance.

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