Security is not, George Bennet assures us, ‘all guards, armed response and people who put up fences.’
There can be various misconceptions surrounding the security industry, as Control Risks’ George Bennet is more than aware of, when he senses people ‘switch off’ in conversation at the word ‘security’.
But George’s career as a consultant for a global risk security company ensured he’s travelled to places he ‘never believed he would’, and been exposed to a wide variety of sectors, scenarios and environments.
We were fortunate enough to hear George elucidate on this often hidden sector, and give his own insight into what makes this such an interesting career for him.
Consultancy can be split into three areas – security, investigations and political analysis. “Security is often the best fit for officers,” explains George, “while political analysis may be more suited to academics.”
“We’re here to help the client with a problem – this could be how they react to a serious incident , violent crime on site, civil disorder or coup attempt. It’s the job of the consultant to go and solve the problem – this could involve advising on how to extract them from the area or evacuate their staff.”
“I love the fact I get to travel to lots of different countries and the tasks tend to be very distinct. I get to meet and interview staff, review security of the site they operate and write and deliver a report to the client – the job can be over within two weeks then I’m on to the next thing.” He adds: “There is also enough to keep you interested and you can be exposed to different services, such as mining work, oil and gas, and financial services. ”
Please note the importance of a well-written report. As George attests: “This can distinguish a good consultant from a great one. People need to ensure information is put on paper properly and thoroughly.” He adds: “The company’s name is on the report forever so it’s important to get it right.”
Security is often a popular choice for ex-military as ‘difficult’ or problematic environments tend to be familiar. George says: “I did consider re-qualifying but I knew the easier route would be bringing my experience to the sector, rather than starting at the bottom.” He adds: “However, there is also an argument it’s not enough of a change, and is it ambitious enough? Are we just swapping Afghanistan for Syria? Also, one of the main reasons I left the military was because I didn’t want to be away from home so much.”
Transferable skills ex-military can offer:
- Practical advice – a useful commodity to companies
- The ability to stand up in front of crowds
- Lots of experience in written reports
Don’t be put off by lack of commercial experience
Employers use this term frequently but George thinks the majority of this can be learnt quite quickly. He says: “Building relationships with clients is key, if you can understand what the problems are, that’s the most important aspect.”
Find out more about Control Risks’ Security Management Course