Sunday, September 27, 2015
It will soon become mandatory for persons to be certified if they want to work in the private security industry. As part of efforts to change the image of security guards from 'guardie' to professionals, the Private Security Regulation Authority (PSRA) - which polices the industry - will demand that persons receive formal training and are certified before they can be employed as security guards. Of the island's more than 21,000 security guards, 28 per cent have no educational training beyond the primary level, 60 per cent have secondary level education while 12 per cent possess tertiary level qualifications. According to executive director of the PSRA, Rosalyn Campbell, the decision was made to have the certification of security guards as one of the criteria for registered private security companies. The decision followed consultations with security minister, Peter Bunting, and other stakeholders. "You develop a professional industry when people have recognisable training," said Campbell.
"We will start to introduce it this quarter and use a year to get people familiarised, and then make it mandatory," added Campbell as she noted security companies are required to renew their registration with the PSRA every year to secure a license to operate. Guardsman Ltd, Allied Security Company and the Caribbean Maritime Institute are now accredited training organisations for security guards offering HEART/Trust NTA certifications. Approximately 1,000 security guards were certified in 2014. These certifications are valid in Canada and the Caribbean. City and Guilds certification can also be obtained from the entry level to the master's level. These certifications can be obtained through the Security Administrators Limited located at Newport West or Distinction College. A City and Guilds certification will allow a security guard to be employed in Jamaica, the Caribbean or Europe. "It has been a struggle to get it here because a lot of times the persons in the industry find it a little bit difficult because they say it is expensive. But you can't escape training if you want to be recognised as a professional body," argued Campbell.
She said she has been contacted by several overseas employers in recent times to verify the certification granted to security guards as it appears that more and more guards are seeking employment opportunities overseas. "I am going to be dragging them into the 21st century," she said, while alluding to the current thrust towards certification. "You should see the quality of the people who are now applying. Don't pass any little guard and think they are any little body. They have several subjects in CXC. It's a whole different breed that we see now applying," she noted. Given the need in the Caribbean for security guards, Campbell said the PSRA is in discussions with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to add security guards as one of the professions that can move in the Caribbean Single Market and Economy under the free movement clause.
Published in the Gleaner : Sunday | September 27, 2015 Nadine Wilson-Harris