New too the Industry "IN AT THE DEEP END"

Making that choice to leave the army, especially after nearly 14 years service, is no easy decision and definitely not one to be taken lightly. My thought process and planning had been put into place a good while before I carried out the series of clicks on the computer to start my 12 months of resettlement. A move into the security industry had always been at the forefront of my mind and was a natural progression in my eyes. I had my sights firmly fixed on a career in Close Protection. Not sure of which route to take I settled into a bit of research before deciding on what type of course I should take. I decided to attend a non-hostile high quality 3 weeklong course in Ashford. It was indeed money well spent giving me all the required knowledge and skills to be able to operate with efficiency and expertise. We also covered surveillance in great depth, which gave me “another string to my bow”, so to speak. The next stage was to get medically qualified. Everyone these days had the “good old” First Aid at Work but from my research I noticed that more and more companies were now asking for FPOS-I, especially if you were planning on securing employment abroad. Again after some thorough in-depth research I invested in a course run in Hereford and it was of top quality. I have found that research is definitely the key to success. A phrase I never forget from my Recce platoon days “time spent on recce’s is seldom wasted”. This has definitely been proven when conducting research for the various courses required. Once this was all finally complete I was able to apply for my SIA frontline CP license. I had all this completed within 3 months of deciding this was the career path I wanted to follow which left me still in the service for another 6 months. I decided to start putting the “feelers” out early with regards to getting work/contracts within the industry. Again research was invaluable from searching for companies to working out the best format for my CV and covering letter(s) for each job I applied for. This is where the shock hit me. I did the correct protocol as in sent my CV and covering letter by email, and in some cases by letter, to a wide selection of companies. I made the professional follow up call to the companies and then “waited out”……….NOTHING!. I thought to myself, “this is going to be one hard sector to crack”. I attended a few interviews within the London area which secured me some low key corporate event work which actually gave me a good in-sight and showed me the full extent of how flooded the market is with operators and how you are fighting for the high net worth contracts. Things slowly progressed for me over the coming months as I moved into a selection of surveillance work but I still hadn’t secure that job I could safely call a career. My discharge date was rapidly approaching and then my big break came. I received an email from a large security provider and was invited for an interview. Again, preparation and research was the key. Company history, personalities and knowledge of the sector were up there as the key notes on my mind………..the interview went well but still not a 100% job offer. I was required to finish my time in the Armed Forces before I could take up any contractual work. Things were getting quite “hairy” now, as I was less than 4 weeks from discharge. Finally that email arrived “ Dear Mr Reed, We at ******* would like to formally offer you employment deploying immediately to Kabul”…YES!!!! I had got it. My discharge date finally arrived and I was relieved to say I was flying out of country exactly 2 weeks later to embark on my newfound career of Close Protection in a hostile environment. My time, effort and perseverance had paid off. 10 months down the line and a few rotations under my belt things are going well. Starting work on a Diplomatic contract at the British Embassy in Kabul was a great opportunity and has put me in good stead for the future. Since then I have just recently crossed deck to another company on a similar contract and am now a member of the EU Ambassador CP Team. The future is bright and I have found myself once again researching on how to best push and development myself. Around my tasks and duties I have managed to study, completing not only a Level 3 Security Management Diploma but also, a Diploma in Super Yachts and a certificate in Human Behavioral studies (good for threat analysis of people) is next on my list. In addition to the continued professional development probably the most key action you can take is the all-important “Networking”. On the ground you meet a plethora of operators who have a breadth and depth of knowledge. Talk Talk Talk!!, Be polite, be courteous, be interested and be helpful…that is the key. You will remember them and they will remember you. Who knows that could be your foot in the door to your next big contract.

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