Security training business takes off

Two former airmen have seen demand for their security training company take off beyond all expectation after securing contracts with several universities.

Two former airmen have seen demand for their security training company take off beyond all expectation after securing contracts with several universities.

Chris Samuels and Geoff Herschell set up Extra Mile Training and Consultancy in September 2007, having both left the RAF Regiment after 22 years service.

Accredited by The Institute of Leadership and Management and City and Guilds the company offers recognised training and qualifications for security staff throughout England.

The training is free to those who take it up and funding comes through the Learning and Skills Council's Train to Gain programme with the Extra Mile team effectively operate as a subcontractor of Norwich City College.

Following a low key start, training people in and around Watton, the company has seen demand soar since it started to make inroads into the university security market.

Extra Mile was initially signed up by city college to take on just 40 students but by August 400 people will have been trained in the current year and, having posted a turnover of �38,000 in its first year, the two directors expect a turnover of around �500,000 in 2009/10.

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Mr Samuels explained: 'We always said we wanted to start in Watton and work our way out.

'We did start in Watton but then went to the University of East Anglia beyond.'

After the company was asked to train the security team at the UEA their reputation soon spread and Mr Samuels said calls are now coming in from universities across England.

'We have 400 places available up to August but there is demand for 600,' he said.

'Currently we are working in five universities and have two more signed up.

'We also have three in Liverpool, another three in East Anglia and one in Manchester who want to sign up.

'Universities in York, Leeds and Scarborough have also expressed interest.'

A map on the office wall is littered with dots where Extra Mile is giving and has been asked to provide training.

Currently all the dots are in England because of the nature of the funding steam but both directors hope to expand into Scotland, Wales and Ireland in the near future.

'This time last year we didn't have a map because we didn't have anything to go on it,' added Mr Samuels.

In January the company began to take on staff and it now employs three full time trainers in the Midlands and has 13 associates who work for the company on an 'as and when' basis.

Mr Herchell said: 'We have missed the walking stage out and gone straight from standing still to running.

'We offer full NVQ level two training which covers all aspects of security including patrolling, communication, health and safety, customer service and dealing with emergencies.

'The training also has other benefits as investment in employees can raise staff morale and increase productivity.

'Companies can also use their workforce's qualifications to make them more competitive in the job market.'

Extra Mile is hoping to train 1,000 security staff in the next year but the directors also hope to expand the conpany's range of services.

The team is in the process of developing a new award for university security supervisors and are currently the only company in the country able to issue a brand new award for spectator safety - something they hope will be an increasing part of their business as the Olympics approach and demand for training in that sector increases dramatically.

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