In 2022, the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) reported a staggering figure of almost 2.7 million registered security guards in South Africa, dwarfing the 140,048 personnel on the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) roster. This surge in private security personnel is not surprising given the country’s high crime rate, coupled with a declining appeal of the police force for recruits.
Amid the growing reliance on private security officers by households for protection, the responsibilities placed on these personnel demand a diverse skill set. They must stay updated on the latest security threats, possess a sound understanding of legal and ethical requirements, and exhibit tactical skills to defuse tense situations.
Training becomes a critical prerequisite to reduce security risks, eliminate illegal actions, and establish trust with clients. However, a challenge arises as security companies often have branches nationwide, making in-person training expensive due to travel and accommodation costs.
The emergence of eLearning has addressed these challenges, enabling guards to access training conveniently from their base cities. Michael Hanly, MD of South African learning solutions provider New Leaf Technologies, highlights the advantages of eLearning, emphasizing its on-demand nature. Security personnel can access training 24/7, allowing them to continue learning during downtime.
Advanced eLearning software, such as aNewSpring, goes beyond traditional training methods by offering interactive simulations that present realistic scenarios, enhancing decision-making skills. This benefits not only trainees but also course instructors, who can track progress and conduct assessments to ensure personnel meet specified training goals.
From a security company’s perspective, centralizing knowledge on the eLearning platform ensures consistency in training across the country. Key aspects to consider when evaluating training effectiveness on an eLearning program include performance metrics, assessment scores, feedback and surveys, incident reports, and cost-benefit analysis.
Hanly notes that while security outcomes may take months to years to manifest, immediate benefits of eLearning include cost savings, scalability, and improved tracking. The adoption of eLearning represents a strategic approach for security companies to enhance the capabilities of their personnel efficiently and consistently nationwide.