07 September 2020


This month Simon Banks talks to David Scott, Managing Director of Skills for Security, the sector skills body for the private security industry. David joined Skills for Security in August 2019 having previously been part of the senior management team at New College Lanarkshire.

What have been the main focuses in your first year in the role?

My main aim has been to raise the quality of our electronic security programme and specifically our delivery of the Fire, Emergency and Security Systems (FESS) Apprenticeship Trailblazer. In order to deliver high quality training, we recruited 5 full-time tutors. All were fully qualified engineers from the sector. It is important that our apprentices are learning from people who have recent, relevant and extensive experience of the Fire & Security market. Additionally, it’s great to see people giving back to the industry they love!  We have a brand new, purpose-built training centre in Warrington with numerous practical working stations and 3 classrooms for theory and hands-on technical classes. We have also added 3 satellite centres to our organisation based in Southport (EFT Systems), Birmingham Met College and one in Oxford coming very soon. We now have over 200 Apprentices on the programme with 16 who qualified over the course of this year.

With the current pandemic focusing on key workers, what are you doing to support training for Security Officers?  

We have been working with the security sector to create a Professional Security Officer Apprenticeship. For Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland, this should be available this year and we are looking at satellite training centres to deliver this. For England, we are part of the Trailblazer Group, where 40 leading companies have been involved to help develop both Level 2 and degree level apprenticeships, which aims to promote the security sector as a career of choice for those looking for a career in a diverse and robust sector. There are 4 different pathways within this: events, licenses to practice, CCTV operators and door supervisors. The key worker status now held by these roles mean they need the best training possible. We are also helping to upskill existing physical security personnel with CPD qualifications throughout this year.  

How has recent lockdown impacted apprenticeships?

So far, the impact has been minimal. We expected to see a drop in recruitment during the lockdown, but we have enrolled 50 new apprentices between April and August. Hopefully this is a sign that things will continue as normal. We have 1.4 million young people (16-19) leaving school in the UK this year, many who would normally go to College or University but 20% are deferring their place as a result of Covid-19. There is an opportunity here for the fire and security sector to bring these talented young people into an ever growing and diverse environment. With government incentives, a huge talent pool out there and the potential for high-level qualifications, there has never been a better time to be or recruit an apprentice in the Fire & Security industry. Studies show that 20% of economic recovery for a business is based on investments in training and development. That is why the government are backing this so heavily!

What are the plans for this year’s apprentice competitions?

Unfortunately, this year’s WorldSkills UK and Engineers of Tomorrow competitions have had to be postponed until 2021. Whilst we considered the possibility of running the events remotely, we felt this would not deliver something truly worthy of what the competitors deserve. Preparations for the 2021 competitions have already begun and we fully expect them to be more fun, challenging and competitive than ever before.


“DualCom Pro and My Base is definitely the way to go. Great addition to the CSL
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Matt Moran (UK Security Systems) – LinkedIn – 12th August


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