"I’ll be using those skills for the rest of my life”
Marcia Mackay is changing the face of the security industry. After completing the UK’s first apprenticeship for front-line security personnel in 2022, the 25-year-old has gained the skills to tackle the latest security threats and the confidence to call for other young women to pursue a career in the industry.
The inspiration came during a trip to the careers fair, while Marcia studied Sports Coaching at the City of Glasgow College. “The day-to-day variety of the job jumped out right away,” she says. “I knew I wanted things to stay fresh, and I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, so I just went for it.”
She joined SecuriGroup Limited as a Safety Steward. The perks were plentiful. When Harry Styles played the IBROX Stadium, Marcia’s friends were rushing for tickets whilst she got a front-row view of the action. “To have one of the biggest musicians in the city was exciting enough,” she says. “To be a part of it though; to help everyone enjoy the experience and soak in the atmosphere was just something else.”
When Skills for Security (the training subsidiary of the British Security Industry Association ) and SecuriGroup introduced the pioneering 'Level 5 SVQ Apprenticeship in Providing Security Officer Services' (Security Officers Services Apprenticeship), Marcia leapt at the chance. A funded apprenticeship, it expanded her opportunities for work, teaching skills in Fire Safety, Mental Health Awareness, Conflict Management, Counter Terrorism and Safeguarding.
More importantly though, it expanded the horizons of a career in the industry, “The scope of what I could do, and where I could go, was inspiring”, says Marcia, “I could relax, knowing that I would get trained affordably, in a way that fit around the work I was already doing. But I was also able to look ahead and really see a future for myself.”
Marcia is now pursuing further accreditation with the aim to become a Security Manager. Of the 30 trainees currently enrolled on the SVQ, six are working towards higher accreditation.
“I think there’s a real opportunity to change the industry,” Marcia says. “Getting more young people and women in is a big part of that. I think we’re compassionate. We listen. To get the best outcomes with the public, that's what you need. It’s also just a great place to grow life skills. Team working, social engagement, just stepping up and taking responsibility, I’ll be using those skills for the rest of my life.”