- Security TWENTY
- Women in Security
David Cresswell talks Mark Rowe through the Certified Security Management Professional Diploma qualification, CSMP™ for short.
For brief details of the diploma, click here.
If you want proof of the standing around the world for British security management, British education, and indeed English-speaking anything, it’s David Cresswell’s Certified Security Management Professional Diploma qualification. The course, which came into existence in 2013, has hundreds of takers – about a fifth British, and the rest from 89 countries. The takers so far are corporate security managers, diplomatic protection professionals, contractors working in such places as Iraq, Kurdistan, Somaliland and Afghanistan, contract guarding people, consultants, police and the military, European Union peace-keepers, and integrators. David has to open his laptop to reel off some of the private companies and public institutions where the programme-takers come from. Suffice to say that if you think of a famous or big employer, and their staff are represented on CSMP. To describe the course briefly: “It’s designed for 370 hours,” says David, “and there are 12 units; each one covers a different subject. Assessment is by monthly assignment, and we have a team of professional markers. What makes this certification stand apart from other awards is that we use serving security managers as markers, as assessors, so these people’s day to day role is managing a security function, and they have all gone through CSMP.”
It’s accredited by the awarding body Industry Qualifications (IQ) for short as a level six diploma. David, who’s been a security management trainer for 15 years, describes the CSMP L6 Diploma as a blended security management product with a multi-national focus; whether you are working in Germany, the US, Russia, the Middle East or Africa, ‘the material is relevant to wherever somebody is operating, because the principles are common’. The students are assessed – and just to add, the assessors are paid rather than volunteers – against current practices, and the materials used are current. David says: “The feedback has been universally positive, and we are often complimented on how relevant the materials are. For example I had one email from an overseas student who commented that the programme had transformed the way that he practices security management, and he’s a country head of security.”
For your money – £750 plus VAT – you get the accredited product, a monthly textbook sent to you by email, ‘that build up into a thousand-page reference book on security management’. Your 12 assignments are marked. If you don’t pass first time, then you can re-submit. You get final certification, ‘and most importantly you get access to coaching seven days a week. A big element of the programme is the telephone and email coaching that we are able to offer, to be flexible around the student’s working day.” CSMP tutors may be as likely to offer coaching – by Skype, it’s free at both ends – at 5am as 8pm British time. Students can access an online library of good practice publications.
I interrupted to ask David about those who might be thinking of dipping their toe into learning again but feeling that it’s a long time since they did such courses – and even if they feel capable, can they fit it into their lives?! “Because it’s accredited, one of the things we can’t do anything about is the time required for the study. But what we can say is that once they have signed up we can give them all the support they need. Apart from telephone coaching, we will review their submission, to guide them in the right direction.” And if you wonder whether study is for you, there’s no pre-entry academic criteria; what matters is whether you can show evidence for your capabilities. David says that for many students the answers are ‘instinctive’, ‘because we’re not asking people to write essays. The structure is not academic, we are not asking people to memorise lots and lots of facts, to pass a test.’ The assignments are all open-book, in other words you can refer to things as you write your assignments. Whether the work takes the form of case studies, or concepts or models, students are encouraged to give examples of how they apply to their own workplaces. “The whole focus of the programme is on competency and proficiency development, alongside knowledge development, but because everything is open-book, we don’t require students to cram masses and masses of knowledge into their brains.” Put another way, we are talking about the application of knowledge.
Some of the CSMP students are sponsored by their employers; some pay for themselves and their employer will fund them when they get the qualification; some students put themselves through the CSMP. The background of course-taker, David reports, ranges from the security supervisor looking to get into management to the corporate head of security; from the 30 to the 60-year-old. Nor do they necessarily have a security background; David makes the point that an oil and gas firm or corporate may bring a non-security person, such as an engineer, into the security department, as a function to have experience of like any other in the business.
To run briefly through some of the 12 units:
1) security risk analysis – ‘and many students have found this methodology so good that they have imported it into their own organisation as standard’
2) crime – both why people might do crime and the strategies to put in place to prevent it
5) security design and surveying
6-9) perimeters, buildings, access control, CCTV
10) facility counter-terrorism – what the corporate security manager needs to know about protecting a facility from terrorists, such as the recent Nairobi mall and Mumbai attacks
11) information and IT security
12) risks to the person.
What of the sense – in work generally, not only in risk and security management – that the days of someone getting a degree at 21, or simply entering the workforce before 21, and making it to retirement without further education, are past? David says: “Irrespective of your level of previous qualifications, this programme is an important confirmation and updating of knowledge and skills. We have people on the programme with no prior academic qualifications, we have people on the programme with PhDs, we have people on the programme with previous certifications. We have people that use the programme to verify their skills, to update their skills, and to gain skills.” As for what students can do once they have the CSMP L6 Diploma, and maybe have picked up a taste for learning, David’s working on successor products, to be announced in the coming months. And as for the general case for studying – doing more than simply clocking your body and brain on and off, at whatever level you work – David says: “There’s a much greater awareness now that qualification is important in this sector, and certainly students going through the CSMP have found the programme to be in some cases literally a transformation,” introducing them to new ideas, new ways of doing things. And thanks to the internet and electronic age, unlike traditional courses where you bought an (expensive) paper textbook that was out of date five years later, all CSMP materials are electronic, and revised at least yearly. While some online learning, distance learning, has felt cold, and remote, David makes the point that it’s personalised; students do talk with a tutor; the internet is the means, not the end. Tutors can write personal reports, ‘and we are able to write personalised recommendations for students, and through these recommendations a number of students have been successful in securing jobs, and promotions’.