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Where does training fit in the monitoring control room? asks Brian Kelly, pictured, MD of alarm centre monitoring software firm Bold Communications.
No matter how automated security technology becomes, the system operator will always remain the most important factor in a monitoring centre, as well as being the most expensive. The performance of the monitoring centre will largely depend on the skills and judgement of the person operating the system. While recruitment and supervision are both important, without proper training, operator performance will be a hit and miss affair.
There is sometimes an assumption that control room monitoring operations does not require a particular skill set. However, operational problems can start to surface once a new system goes live if user training has not been properly defined and delivered. And existing levels of service can suffer where new personnel are brought in and just left to get on with it. Knowledge is power but, unfortunately, the lack of it is one of the most serious threats to the effectiveness of security and safety monitoring. Also, increasingly, training is being recognised as an essential component of a technology project, with end users expecting these type of critical services to be delivered by properly qualified staff.
This is why Bold Communications has always treated control room training as a priority within a system deployment, with hundreds of control room personnel having been taught over the last 30 years, at every level of responsibility. Our approach differs from that of the usual provider in that not only do we equip our users with the skills to do their jobs effectively, but we then provide them with round the clock support. Our support informs our training and, conversely, training our users helps make our support more effective. For example, it is clear that operator capabilities have shifted as systems have become more sophisticated and younger generations more comfortable with technology.
Bold recently updated its training programmes to reflect these changes. The core Gemini alarm handling module is an excellent introduction for anyone new to the sector, as well as a refresher for more experienced staff, and is a precursor for the more advanced courses. Practical applications and incident management examples are provided without theory or technical jargon. Just a ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of operating an alarm handling system, with plenty of hands-on exercises and relevant discussion. This module can be followed up with a more targeted look at specific areas, for example, CCTV alarm monitoring and report designing.
Administrator courses are designed for personnel with responsibility for managing the overall operation of the system and the database. This module equips the user with the skills to build new accounts and set up global configurations, and user profiles.
Many of the key courses are accredited and audited by the UK sector skills body, Skills for Security, with modules mapped to the UK National Occupation Standards (NOS) for Remote Monitoring Operations. Delivered by professionally trained and accredited control room trainers, the courses provide control room personnel with the confidence and skills to perform their roles effectively.
A structured and professional approach to the delivery of courses has been adopted, containing well specified learning outcomes and objectives for the delegates. These define the practical skills required for the role and are complemented by our unique understanding and specialist experience within the security monitoring sector. On successful completion, candidates are awarded a professional qualification, evidence of their competence in using the new technology, and which can form part of their ongoing portfolio of professional development.
Bold’s accredited training is a way to ensure that service level promises are delivered and the return on investment in security technology is fully optimised.