Changes loom for private security industry

April 2006 Security Services & Risk Management

Managerial and technology skills training are set to polish the professionalism of the private security industry in South Africa. That is the word from Sammy Samson, technical training officer of ADT, a leading security company that protects more than 260 000 residential and commercial properties in South Africa.

Samson heads a nation-wide Electronic Security Technician Learnership Programme conducted by ADT in conjunction with the industry Services and Security SETA. The programme offers formal training and qualifications in the installation, maintenance and management of alarm systems.

It is a two-year, full-time course with a range of basic and advanced courses. Lectures are given at engineering colleges around the country by lecturers qualified in the field of electronics and accredited by the SAS SETA to conduct the courses.

Practical courses are conducted by ADT at its offices in Cape Town, Johannesburg, KwaZulu-Natal, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria. The Learnership Programme is subsidised by the SAS SETA and ADT. The success rate is high and those who pass the two-year programme are given accreditation by the SAS SETA.

"The Learnership Programme aims to change the face of our industry," says Samson. "It gives our customers greater confidence in our ability to operate sophisticated alarm systems that meet the stringent requirements of the insurance industry for the protection of our customers' premises."

A feature of the programme is that recruitment is concentrated on the unemployed, including previously disadvantaged individuals. The minimum entry qualification is Grade 12 or N3, the 'matric' equivalent of a technical college. "We have a screening programme to ensure that we put the right people into the Learnership Programme," says Samson. "ADT pays for aptitude testing by independent companies."

There is also ongoing assessment of unit standards and course material to ensure that they remain relevant and embrace electronic advances. "We make sure that the courses meet the needs of the industry," says Samson. He adds that ADT's involvement in the Learnership Programme is additional to its own special Training Academy.

Samson says that, although ADT was started in America in 1874 and is owned and backed by the giant Tyco Fire & Security in that country, the courses offered in the Learnership Programme are geared specifically to the security environment in South Africa.

"Indeed, the structure and recruitment practices of the Learnership Programme demonstrate our firm commitment to South Africa and the interests of its people," says Samson. "What we offer our customers in South Africa is the sophistication of a major national corporation combined with the hometown customer-friendliness of a local organisation."

The Learnership Programme was launched in 2002 and proved so successful that, by the end of 2003, 103 applicants had received diplomas. All were employed by ADT. The intake in 2006 will be in the region of 120.

For more information contact Anjula Jagesur, ADT Security, 086 121 2400,

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