To work in the UK as a Door Supervisor (sometimes referred to as a bouncer), you need to obtain a licence from the Security Industry Authority (SIA). The SIA are the regulatory body for the UK Security Industry and it is they who lay down the rules on who should and who shouldn’t be licensed. But before you even start thinking about your licence you should consider whether or not you have what it takes to become a Door Supervisor.
You need to have a very thick skin at times and will regularly take abuse from drunk customers of the venue you are working at. You’ll almost certainly end up in a violent situation and will probably more than once work a venue understaffed. It can be a dangerous and thankless job and one which has seen many Doormen seriously wounded and even killed for simply refusing entry to someone. Even those that you are trying to help, due to excess alcohol, can turn on you.
In 2006 I was working as a Doorman in a small local town pub, in an affluent area. The pub rarely had any trouble and was generally full of middle aged local couples but on one occasion me and my team mate were faced with a violent brawl over a long standing dispute between one man, who I’ll call John, and a group of 5 men. The group of men grabbed hold of John in the middle of the pub and while one held him in a headlock, the other 5 started to uppercut him into his face. I ran to assist, and knowing that while on my own (my team mate had been caught up in an incident outside at the time) I had no chance of stopping the 5 lads. I decided the best course of action was to grab John and get him out of harms way. As soon as I stepped in the group of lads held off, but that wasn’t the last of my problems. John, who at this point was bleeding heavily from his face due to some very serious wounds, started attacking me. He grabbed the nearest bottle and tried to smash it over my head and after a small struggle I managed to restrain him. I explained to him that I was trying to help and that he needed medical assistance. I made the assumption that he was probably attacking me through confusion and adrenaline, which was a fair assumption at the time and, upon him agreeing to calm down, released him so that I could try and stop the bleeding from his head. As soon as I had released him however, he then spat blood in my face and mouth and then pulled a knife and tried to stab me. I managed to restrain him again only to then be attacked by his drunk girlfriend.So as you can see, even while trying to help someone, you can be hurt and it can at times be a very undesirable job. Other points to note are;
- You MUST be over 18 years of age
- Unsociable hours
- Pay varies between £8 and £15 per hour with most positions paying £10 per hour
- Can be dangerous
- You need a basic level of fitness
- You need to have a strong personality
SIA Licence Eligibility
If you’ve decided that you want to work as a Door Supervisor then the first thing to do above all else is check your eligibility to obtain an SIA licence. You’ll notice that I mention this in every article on entering the Security Industry. This is because time and time again people fail to check there eligibility for a licence and then, upon passing their training course and paying the licence fee, they have their application declined for a failed criminal record check. So not only do these people lose their licence fee, but they’ve also paid for training that they can not use. I suggest that before you even think about applying for any form of training within the industry that you check your eligibility on the Sia Official Website using their Criminal Record Indicator. You can also get further information about licensing and the SIA from the pdf, Get Licensed available here.
Door Supervisor Training
Once you have made the decision that being a Door Supervisor is for you, and you’ve confirmed that you’re eligible for a licence, the next thing to do is choose your training provider. Likewise with checking your eligibility, this is something that can’t be stressed enough. You need to choose a good training provider that will actually train you to do your job. Choosing a company because it’s the cheapest is not necessarily the best option. And stay away from training providers that just talk you through the exam answer’s and don’t even train you at all. Yes it’s quick and easy, but they do no good for the Security Industry and could land you in a whole heap of trouble if the proverbial hits the fan. The Security Industry is a profession, and whether you’re looking for just some weekend work or a full time career, it should still be treated as such. Research training providers as much as is needed until you feel confident that they will provide you with the necessary training required, after all, the last thing you need is to end up in a dangerous situation with less than adequate training The training time for this course is 30 hours including a 2 hour exam. For a list of training companies visit our UK Security Training Companies page.
Your course will cost between £140 and £300 and be wary of companies proclaiming a 100% pass rate. This is not how the industry should work, and proclaiming a 100% pass rate means that every student you’ve ever trained has passed first time, which means you’ve either been lucky with your pick of students (lets face it, some people, now matter how good their instructors are, will never pass first time) or your assisting people on the exams. To put it into perspective, even the top security trainers in the world don’t shout about a 100% pass rate, in fact most top level trainers are proud of their less than 100% pass rate. This is because it show’s that they have a set standard and if you don’t meet it, then you don’t meet their standards and as such are not the right person to use their name.
Getting Your SIA Licence
Once you’ve completed your Door Supervisors course you can then apply for your SIA Licence by requesting an application pack here. Once you’ve applied for your licence it may take between 2 weeks and a few months to arrive. After that you can apply to security companies for work. As a qualified Door Supervisor you can also work at events, festivals, concerts and as a Security Guard, although further training is required for large stadiums involving Crowd Management.
Once you have your badge, the next step is to contact your local door supervisor companies. You can check our directory from companies that provide Door Supervisor Work in your area here.