There are a number of qualifications employers require individuals to gain before they are considered for numerous positions in the sector, including close protection operative, maritime security officer, security manager or risk advisor. This is no secret and is widely viewed as the ‘status quo’, but does the need for training stop there?
Some would argue the requirement is in place to ensure those recruited are completely suitable and have previous experience; therefore, are fully qualified to fulfil the job duties without the need for additional training. Of course, security professionals investing financially in appropriate qualifications is vital to securing a sought after position, but even more crucial is post-recruitment training provided by the employer.
How many contractors will go out of their way and pay for additional training when a dreaded document renewal isn’t required? It’s safe to assume the majority will not pay for a renewal they are not required to evidence. Therefore, employers may look to provide training to its contractors. This isn’t to replace the need of third party accredited training, but simply to provide the opportunity to upgrade skills. If training courses aren’t completed when off rotation, where are new skills learnt and existing skills refreshed?
Employer training also allows the employer direct interaction with their workforce. It makes sense to ensure the personnel delivering such products are completely up to speed and can call on their training whenever required. A generalised guess would be that very few contractors have received training on the ground from their employer. The reasons why are complex, but the main explanation is cost. Inevitably, it is vital to keep costs in mind to ensure profitability, but the benefits of employer training offset this cost in both money and time.
Contractors may have only seen a company representative during the recruitment process, therefore this face-to-face interaction with the employer is extremely valuable and morale boosting. This also provides a way for employees to voice issues. By being proactive and delivering training, companies open a dialogue with contractors which may give them ‘on the ground’ insight they would not have access to otherwise. The main benefit of training remains that in highly volatile environments, security professionals need to call on skills at a moment’s notice. If the skills in question are regularly practised and refreshed through training, this will make a crucial difference in a hostile situation.
Therefore, is it not part of the duty of care by the employer to provide training to personnel on the ground, to better improve their operational capabilities? Training also allows employers to assess the ongoing competency of their contractors and identify training needs.
Security contract budgets can be constraining, and the value of offering continuous training is not recognised by many organisations. However, in a competitive market, a focus on training and continuous development makes the difference from one provider to the next. A company can recruit contractors who are experienced and may not be seen as needing additional training, but through lack of regular training, even the most capable security professional can commit mistakes. We have seen all too recently certain industries failing to comply and the cost of that failure. Companies fail to invest in training their contractors in order to reduce expenditure, but the potential consequences of lack of training come at a much greater cost.
Words by Richard Baskeyfield, senior co-ordinator, Training & Recruitment at EOS Risk Group