‘Build the Future’. The theme for this year’s National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) has never held such significance. For almost a year, younger generations throughout the UK and beyond have had their learning, training and development put on hold. However, this isn’t just restricted to young people.

In fact, while many assume that apprenticeships are exclusively for school leavers, the reality is that nearly half of all people starting as apprentices in England are adults aged 25 or over.

For security officers – who have continued to work on the front-line to protect buildings and businesses throughout the pandemic – there is a great feeling of responsibility and pride. Having been recognised as key workers, there is now the acknowledgement that the security industry as a whole makes a real difference. You can see why it would be an appealing option.

There are also genuine career opportunities when entering the security industry. A case in point is my own progression in the industry as a former relief security officer to sales director here at SmartSec. It’s been a journey of much fulfilment and wonderful experiences. And I mustn’t forget the wonderful people I have encountered along the way. As rewarding as the job can be though, it isn’t without hard work. Many contracts will see security officers working unsociable roles and long hours.

Looking within our own four walls

An apprentice entering the security industry who can demonstrate enthusiasm, a willingness to learn and pick up the necessary skills has a chance of becoming an account manager. At that stage, you then have an opportunity to set objectives with customers, lead and support teams to accomplish these, and even train and mentor other apprentices. At SmartSec, we noticed that one young individual held strong IT and social media skills. This was also identified by one of the tenants  in the building they worked at. Now, this individual is managing the content across this tenant’s social media platforms.

The industry is increasingly using technology to enhance security arrangements and as the tech becomes more sophisticated, the employees working with it develop new and valuable skills. This not only enhances the role of the security officer and but improves their salary and future employment prospects as well.

At SmartSec, we are committed to investing in and retraining our people, online and face-to-face, to manage the new security normal as a result of the pandemic. Security officers’ positions are adapting just as quickly as the layouts of offices change. We have developed in-house training courses focusing on front of house skills which involve videoing our officers as they conduct new day-to-day duties, enabling the trainer and participant to analyse their techniques.

We have a mindset of wanting to see our own people grow and develop; this approach has never been so important. The government has said that it wants the week-long celebration to highlight how apprenticeships can “futureproof workforces and boost careers”. Let us use this week as the catalyst to do just that.