Exciting Initiative To Bring Thousands Of New Recruits To The Security Industry

An exciting partnership that will inject at least 6,000 new recruits into the security guarding industry has been announced today. The unique partnership between the Government, the security industry and the education sector is set to bring thousands of new recruits into the security guarding and crowd management sectors in preparation for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, with a lasting legacy set to benefit the security industry for years to come.

The Bridging the Gap initiative has been developed by the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), Skills for Security, Bucks New University and North Hertfordshire FE College. The project has been funded by the Home Office, the Department of Business Innovation and Skills and the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), and has been created in liaison with PODIUM, the Security Industry Authority and Skills Active. Bridging the Gap provides a formal qualification for Further Education students from across the UK, leading to a guaranteed job interview with a BSIA member and, for some Bridging the Gap graduates, the opportunity to assist in the security arrangements for London 2012.

The initiative has been awarded the London 2012 ‘Inspire Mark’.  This Mark recognises innovative and exceptional projects that are directly inspired by the London 2012 Games. It is hoped that the project will prove to be a gateway for long-term careers in the security industry, providing a lasting legacy for young adults.

Security Minister Lord West says: “The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games promise to be among the greatest sporting events in history and security planning for the Games is on track and on budget. This project is just one example of the work already being done to make sure the Games are safe and secure and shows the Government working with British business to help communities and young people in the UK.”

David Evans, BSIA Project Director 2012, says: “There has long been a need to encourage young adults to pursue a career in the security industry. Bridging the Gap will provide the security industry with a new supply chain of trained and qualified personnel direct from their local college. Coupled with this, a new stream of personnel will help meet the security challenge of London 2012, providing valuable support to the comprehensive security measures that will be in place.”

Andrew Amery, Head of Security at LOCOG, says: “We are delighted that the security industry is offering this professional qualification and has had the foresight to plan ahead for the industry needs in a year which, beside the London 2012 Olympic requirements, will also see a plethora of other UK events requiring stewarding and marshalling support.”

During early 2009, Bridging the Gap was successfully piloted in 14 Further Education colleges amongst 210 students. It is now being rolled-out nationally to an additional 50 FE colleges, with an overall goal of training a total of 12,000 students over three years and delivering 6000 plus fully trained security personnel for London 2012. The Bridging the Gap “Understanding stewarding at spectator events” qualification can be attached to a student’s main programme of study, for example Public Uniformed Services, Travel and Tourism, Sports Studies or Business. In addition, students will be trained to the Security Industry Authority’s (SIA) door supervisor level. This will provide students with the qualification required to apply for an SIA licence. Following graduation from a Bridging the Gap course, students will be guaranteed a job interview with a BSIA member. The Association’s member companies have also committed to providing work experience placements for Bridging the Gap students to provide them with a further grounding ahead of commencing a career in the security industry. Bucks New University is providing the tutor training element of the programme, through face-to-face and distance learning sessions, to ensure the tutors have the most of up-to-date and appropriate knowledge to pass on to their students. Professor Chris Kemp, Pro Vice Chancellor – Executive Dean of the Faculty of Design, Media and Management at Bucks New University, comments: “We are delighted to be delivering the tutor training element of the programme.  Bridging the Gap creates a career pathway to the security industry that enables students to hit the ground running after participating in a scenario-based learning programme supported by work experience.”

David Greer, Chief Executive of Skills for Security, adds: “This exciting and innovative project will help to further raise standards and improve skills in the security industry in the long term. A group of educated, motivated people will be introduced to the range of careers available in the security sector, opportunities of which they would have been unaware without involvement in Bridging the Gap.”

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Minister Kevin Brennan, says: “The Bridging the Gap project is a great opportunity for young people to get training and a qualification for an industry which continues to expand and has a need for highly skilled workers. With so many colleges on board they will be able to provide a large number of suitably skilled workers who will ensure the security industry has a highly trained workforce into the future. We know that there are major skills shortages in a number of industries including security, and with big events such as the London 2012 Olympics needing a large number of highly-skilled individuals, this scheme is well placed to meet these demands.”

Fintan Donohue, Principal at North Hertfordshire College, says: “This new qualification will provide outstanding career opportunities and useful work experience for youngsters seeking jobs in difficult conditions.  Possessing flexible skills is key to success, and this is an excellent example of enterprise enabling people to build a long-term career or to gain valuable experience as a foundation for other career paths.”

BSIA Website