From education to employment

Security specialist GMS Group drive for women to join sector backed by West Midlands Mayor

Tracey Cupkovic security officer for GMS Security

Leading security specialist GMS Group has stepped up its campaign to encourage women to take up careers in security by partnering with education and employment partners to tackle an industry-wide shortage of trained female staff.

Black Country-based GMS has begun working with Sandwell College and other key partners to engage with wider audiences over Women In Security, an awareness drive about the opportunities for female staff to follow careers in security gatehouse roles, public facing events and technology-based duties including CCTV monitoring as well as the scope for management development.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has welcomed the campaign as part of his jobs plan to get 100,000 people back into good-quality employment within two years.

GMS has promoted the campaign to local colleges, universities, local authorities, student unions and employment agencies to display the opportunities available for female colleagues in security.

With high-profile public events heading to the West Midlands in the next 12 months, women who begin new careers in the sector can take up opportunities to work in exciting settings while building up their experience for future careers.

GMS has vacancies in key roles at its sites nationwide, while preparing to staff protection and security services at forthcoming high-profile West Midlands events where female-only work is required, GMS want to play their part in addressing the shortage of trained women in the industry. According to statistics from the Security Industry Authority, the government body which regulates the security sector, in October just 10 per cent of the 390,000 registered SIA licence holders were female.

Based in Tividale, Oldbury, GMS employs 500 staff delivering practical security solutions across the UK for leading brands such as Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin, CEMEX UK, Neovia, Kerry Foods and Avison Young.

Sandwell College is among those supporting the campaign, promoting the opportunities in security for female students and women looking to retrain. Marie Mathews, Head of Adult Skills, Traineeships and Kickstart at Sandwell College said: “We are pleased to promote Women In Security as it opens new opportunities for employment and skills at a time when many women are looking at the career options ahead of them.

“Working with GMS, we understand they are working hard to confound the stereotypes around protection work being only about muscle. Women can enjoy careers in a variety of disciplines with regular work ahead of them. We are recommending people look at security careers because if they enjoy it, the industry is calling out for licenced security officers and they will be in high demand.”

To address the imbalance and with several female-only vacancies to fill, Sandwell College and GMS offers training to women looking to secure their licence. GMS are looking to engage with women whose work in other sectors was hit by Covid-19, such as hospitality and travel, and who will bring transferable skills. Subject to availability, Sandwell College and GMS are also able to offer the training course during school hours to avoid women having to arrange childcare during their training period.

GMS HR Director Rachel Freeman said: “Building on a strong partnership with Sandwell College, GMS is able to reach a wider, engaged audience through Women In Security to raise awareness of the fulfilling opportunities for female staff working in the sector.

“We have been encouraged by the interest in our work and how many women are interested in knowing more about the opportunities for the modern security officer. There is an industry-wide shortage of female staff and we will play our part to address the imbalance.”

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street welcomed the collaboration as he leads efforts to get 100,000 people back into good quality work as part of the region’s recovery from the economic damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Street said: “The pandemic has caused huge economic damage to the West Midlands and left many people out of work or fearing for their future. But there are still so many jobs and opportunities out there, which is why retraining and upskilling is such a critical way to helping people back into work as part of my 100,000 jobs plan.

“The teamwork between GMS and partners like Sandwell College is a great example of the work that can be done to help retrain people who are out of work, alongside the wide range of training courses the West Midlands Combined Authority is funding. I would encourage everyone who is looking for a job, or is worried about their future, to see what training opportunities are out there right now.”

GMS are offering training and licencing support for successful candidates, male and female, who apply to work in their security roles. Women In Security follows GMS’s successful campaign on mental health, called “Reach out, help a mate back up”, launched in May to encourage team members to look out for each other on psychological wellbeing despite taboos around asking for help.

Related Articles