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Opening Pathways Into a Security Career

Scott Gough, Managing Director of Unitrust summarises the various initiatives Unitrust has in place to encourage more people to join the security industry.

“Over the last few years, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of people retraining and joining our industry. There are so many industries that people come from with transferable skills, particularly those who have worked in customer-oriented environments, as a key part of a security officer or manager's role is to be able to communicate, problem-solve and have a can-do attitude when dealing with all members of the public.

“A great example of where we often find transferable skills is working with military veterans. Generally, former armed forces personnel already have a great awareness of security and risk issues and having spent years in environments that require you to be quick to react and think on your feet, we find they adapt with ease into security roles. Many of our operations team have a military background and we signed the Armed Forces Covenant to show our commitment to helping veterans transition into the private sector. Through mentoring and training, we are hopeful we can continue to attract more former armed forces people to join our operations team.

“For the last two years, we have had a partnership in place with a London College to support their SIA door supervisor courses and through this initiative, key members of our team have delivered presentations to people keen to join our industry. Once the students complete the course, we organise an open day where we offer advice and guidance on how to get a security role and talk about career progression prospects for new starters. As part of these open days our People & Culture team hosts speed dating style first interviews where we can get to know the students better and help them practice interview techniques, through that process alone we have recruited almost 100 people.

“We believe that everyone who joins us can progress all the way through our business with the right attitude and work ethic. Those who demonstrate their commitment to learning continuously on the job, are the ones we see progress quickly. We try to encourage this in every employee as soon as they join the company by giving them a career pathway development plan. This plan is personal to them and regularly reviewed. We also provide everyone with access to a wide variety of courses, both in person and online, to support their journey.

“Graduates are also starting to see a future in our sector where previously we may have been overlooked. We currently employ three graduates at Unitrust – two in our finance department and one as a security site supervisor. We also offer work placements for students who are 16 + at our HQ and try and rotate them around the business so that they can get a flavour for our industry and hopefully become recruits in the future. What we find is that we are learning all the time from the people who join us whether they are straight out of university or experienced in other industries, the blend of expertise and new eyes on the work we do, generally helps keep us fresh and thinking about how we implement security in practice. We are not too precious to change the way we do something because it is the way we have always done it, actually it's quite the opposite, we are always pushing to discover new innovations and processes that offer better practice for our clients and ultimately our industry.

“Overall, we are really proud of what our industry achieves and stands for, we know the general public doesn’t always see the skills and value but I believe we are slowly changing attitudes by working collaboratively through industry bodies such as the City Security Council, and putting time and resources into awareness campaigns. We are also intent on educating our clients and we regularly hold workshops and deep dive sessions where we strip back and analyse our performance, checking it is on point. This provides both useful feedback for our teams but also helps us identify where additional training and development may be needed.

Continuous professional development is something that even the most experienced people on our team are encouraged to maintain. Unlike the saying, we believe you can teach an old dog new tricks and I am the first in line if there is something new and progressive to be learned.”

If you are interested in a career in security then take a look at our careers page where you can find more information and all our latest job vacancies here.

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