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Opportunities for forces leavers

As the UK observed Remembrance Day, the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) pointed to 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 people leave the armed forces every year, and for many, leaving behind the structure of forces life can be a challenge, particularly when it comes to making the move to a new career, the trade body says. A study commissioned last year by the BSIA found that roles within the private security industry are popular among ex-forces personnel, whose skills and experience can bring many benefits to security employers.

The research showed that 92.6pc 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. All felt that candidates would transition well into a supervisory role, while 95.7pc agreed that managerial roles would also suit individuals with a military background.

The BSIA itself employs its fair share of ex-forces. Director of Manpower and Membership Services, Trevor Elliott, pictured, served in the Scots Guards for a decade, including active service in the Falklands War. Trevor said: “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, taking a career in the security industry can be a difficult adjustment; however, the association points to 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. David Duffy, Managing Director of the CTP, said: “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 guidance on the basic training for those wishing to work in security, and can be a source of advice for security companies and individuals looking to procure training. Courses can be taken in CCTV, alarms, access control, door supervision, control room operations and management training, offering a range of equipment to learn on and qualified tutors with real world experience of the industry.

And speaking about the Remembrance Day commemoration, Trevor Elliott added: “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; for more about the Career Transition Partnership, visit


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