Security traineeship a passport to a better job and better life

10 October 2016

After years struggling to find work, Pakistani migrant, Muhammad Khan, is thrilled with his new job as a security officer with Wilson Security, while Hayden Anderson is saving up for his first overseas trip after starting work with Unified Security Group.

Muhammad landed the role after graduating from a unique traineeship, which combines studies towards a Certificate III in Security Operations, and paid, on-the-job training, on the concierge desk at public housing estates in inner Melbourne. His duties included estate access control and providing information and referral services for residents.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence runs the program Mr Khan trained with, the Community Safety and Information Service (CSIS), with Victorian Government support and working with employers Wilson Security and Unified Security Group.

Brotherhood Employer Engagement Manager Brian Finnigan says CSIS trainees are mainly public housing tenants. ‘Many are long-term unemployed and have English as a second language. Despite that, 70 per cent of our graduates go on to other employment or further studies, and that’s been the case since we started running the CSIS traineeship program in 2005,’ he says. Wilson Security CEO John Rogers says, like many CSIS graduates, Mr Khan’s story is one of hardship. ‘Through an exemplary display of resilience and perseverance, Muhammad has overcome significant challenges. These are attributes I value highly in our employees,’ Mr Rogers says. ‘Our client tells us Muhammad is a considered, calm and very capable guard. His multi-lingual abilities make him the perfect employee to service a diverse client base. He’s a conscientious, polite and hard-working member of the Wilson team.’

Unified Security Group joined as a CSIS program partner three years ago. Regional Operations Manager Luke Walker says Unified has been an active participant and vocal supporter of the program ever since. ‘Our involvement is motivated by our ongoing desire to be good corporate citizens, and providing opportunities for marginalised job seekers is seen as a way to provide a positive contribution to the individuals in the program, their communities, our organisation and our clients,’ he says.

‘Graduates have consistently proven themselves to be dedicated security officers and fine representatives of our organisation and our clients. Our recruitment analysis has identified program graduates have among the highest retention rates of any of our new security officers. That equates to significant financial savings and operational benefits, including reducing costs associated with recruitment, training and equipping new officers and providing our clients with continuity and stability,’ he says. After years of struggling to find work, Hayden Anderson, 25, truly appreciates working full time. It is satisfying to have responsibilities, financial security and the chance to set goals for the future. Without the internet at home, Hayden’s job search regime had entailed spending a lot of time at internet cafés – looking on job search sites, lodging on line applications and printing off resumes. He was registered with different recruitment agencies and services but was not getting anywhere.

It was Hayden’s Mum who saw the ad for the CSIS program in 2014, in the lobby of the inner Melbourne public housing estate where they live, and suggested he check it out. One of the main benefits of doing the twelve month traineeship, Hayden found, was the chance to accrue on-the-job training.

‘In the security industry, it’s all about experience. You can go out and get your licence but you’ll have trouble getting a job if you’ve got no experience,’ he says. ‘I knew I was a good, hard worker. I just needed to get my foot in the door. That’s all I needed.’ After completing the course, Unified Security Group placed him in a few contract roles, before landing him a full time role at the end of last year, as a security officer at a confectionery factory. One of the perks is that he and his colleagues enjoy lots of samples of the product. More importantly, Hayden is now saving up for his first overseas trip. He wants to have a holiday in the United States, to see his favourite American football team play – the Indianapolis Colts.

The CSIS traineeship has opened doors for Hayden. He says he is extremely grateful to the Brotherhood for the support he received during the 12 month program, and the follow up after it finished. ‘Everyone was really supportive and sensitive to all our needs,’ he says.

Mr Khan says completing the CSIS traineeship has been a passport to a better job, and a better life. ‘I have learnt skills such as customer service and responding to difficult behaviour. I have also acquired the confidence and practical skills of working in the security industry. I am very grateful,’ he says. The Brotherhood’s Brian Finnigan says industry involvement is a key ingredient in making the program work. ‘Industry partners like Wilson and Unified are critical to the success of CSIS and other employment programs we deliver,’ he says. ‘They offer meaningful employment pathway opportunities, while at the same time, draw from a pool of motivated and capable trainees. It's a win-win.’

This story first appeared in the Australian Security Industry Association magazine Security Insider, on page 24

Find out more about the CSIS program