Moving from the armed forces to a career in security

In March 2021, the UK government unveiled its five-year defence review and announced that the Army, Navy and Air Force will all be subject to significant cuts in the coming years.

In the case of the Army, these cuts are likely to see around 9,500 jobs go, while the number of Navy frigates and destroyers will drop from 19 to 17 in the next 18 months.

We know that this news has prompted many people currently serving in the armed forces to think about the future and the question of ‘what next?’.

Retraining to join the emergency services or taking on a role in health and safety or business operations, are all popular routes. So too is pursuing a career within the security industry, with the links between safety, protection and enforcement making it an obvious choice.

But just how easy is it to make the transition?

 

Venture Security and our commitment to the forces

Here at Venture, this is a subject we know a lot about, with many team members having joined us from a forces background.

Being based in Andover and working across Hampshire, Wiltshire and Berkshire – all areas with a high military population – it’s naturally just been part of the territory. We’re also proud to have signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant, confirming our commitment to the regulars, reservists and veterans who are keen to enter the security industry to forge a new career for themselves.

For those who are interested in a career in security, we thought we’d take a closer look at some of the top questions we’re often asked.

 

  1. How easy is it to transition from the armed forces to a job in security?

The answer is, it very much depends on the individual, their experience and expectations.

Making the switch is itself relatively straightforward (see below point ‘What do I need to do to become a security guard’). However, working in security is very different for a number of reasons and it won’t be right for everyone.

Depending on the type of security job you go for, you may be working independently and during unsociable hours. But this is something we recognise and work hard, as an employer, to make a pleasant experience for our team members. At Venture, you always have the backup of your team, and someone will be on the end of the phone, at any time of the day or night, should you need them. This culture of teamwork and camaraderie is something both we – and our security officers - highly value.

 

  1. What skills do I need to work in security?

There are many skills and traits that are important when you work in security. Having strong communication skills, great attention to detail and the ability to remain calm under pressure, being amongst them. You can find out more about the key characteristics we observe in our top performing officers here: ‘What makes a great security officer?

Many people joining us from the forces come with a host of very transferable skills and experience, which together form a fantastic foundation for a career in security.

This includes:

  • Impeccable radio communication skills
  • Being well practised at spotting threats
  • Exceptional time keeping
  • An understanding of the challenges of working nights
  • Experience working away from home
  • Adaptability - particularly when under pressure
  • Ability to think under pressure
  • Knowing how to look after yourself in any weather
  • Taking pride in your appearance
  • Working as part of a close-knit team

 

  1. What do I need to do to become a security guard?

To work as a security officer in the UK, you need to hold a valid Security Industry Authority (SIA) licence. To gain a license you need to undertake certain training and to achieve a ‘licence-linked’ qualification, before you then apply for your license via the SIA website.

You need to be 18 or over and must get your training from an approved training provider. You can search for one here. When you apply it can then take up to 6 weeks (sometimes longer) for your license application to be granted.

You will need an SIA license, no matter what kind of security role you may wish to pursue, including working in close protection.

The maximum penalty for working without an SIA licence is six months in prison, with a potential fine of £5,000. There are, however, some unlicensed security roles available – for example, seasonal and event security roles, such as stewarding, which can be used to gain an insight into whether this type of role is right for you.

 

  1. What type of jobs are available in security?

There are many different types of security roles available. To find out more, see our blog ‘Which security role is right for you?’. Here is a quick overview.

  • Mobile patrol officers – A mobile security officer will usually work independently throughout the night, driving round visiting various business premises to carry out an agreed number of checks.
  • Manned guarding - Also referred to as static guarding, this is where a security officer will typically look after one particular property or location and perform a range of duties as required. This may include front of house duties and on-site patrols.
  • City centre security officer (CCSO) – These officers work in town and city centre locations, where they help tackle anti-social behaviour, support retailers and residents, and provide a customer service type role for visitors.
  • Event security – Security officers who work as part of an event security team may look after security for a one-off or seasonal event, or a series of events, such as those hosted by sporting venues.
  • Close protection – Also referred to as a bodyguard, a close protection officer will usually guard an individual and/or their family, as they go about their daily lives. They may also accompany a client on trips and drive them to and from venues.

 

INTERESTED IN A CAREER IN SECURITY?

Venture Security is ranked among the top 1% of security companies in the UK. From manned guarding to mobile patrols and key holding services, and our comprehensive event security services.

Our specialist team works with businesses big and small, based across Winchester, Andover, Salisbury, Basingstoke, Fareham and the wider central-southern region.

Find out more about what it’s like to work at Venture by clicking here, or you can browse the positions we currently have on jobs listing site Indeed.

Or for more information, please call us on 01264 391538.