To work in the UK as a Door Supervisor (sometimes referred to as a bouncer from times gone by), 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 on more than one occasion and will probably more than once work a venue understaffed. Being a Door Supervisor can be a dangerous and thankless job and one which has seen many Door Supervisors seriously hurt and even killed for simply refusing entry to someone.
In 2006 I was working as a Door Supervisor 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 venue and while one held him in a headlock, the other 4 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 due to the assault he had just endured. He calmed a little and released him so that I could try and stop the bleeding from his head (remember this guy was the victim). No sooner had I released him, 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 intoxicated girlfriend. And the final twist the tale, is that once he had completely calmed down, he then asked me to hide his knife for him and not to hand it in to the police, or tell them he had one (I had retrieved it from him and had him detained at this point).
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. But on the plus side, thousands of venues, week, facilitate people having the times of their lives, with minimal incident.
Other points to note are regarding becoming a Door Supervisor are;
- You MUST be over 18 years of age
- The hours are often unsociable
- The pay varies between £8 and £15 per hour with most positions paying around £10 per hour
- Being a Door Supervisor 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 as a Door Supervisor or a full time career working events and festivals, 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 45 hours including a exams, and includes 2 days of Conflict Management and Physical Intervention training. The minimum training days is currently set to 6, although the course can now be done over 4 days with some distance learning. You will also need to get a first aid qualification to qualify for your licence.
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 standards and if you don’t meet it, the you are not the right person to use their name.
Our parent company is currently offering Door Supervisor training over 4 days with some distance learning for a discounted price of £199.80 (including VAT). You can check out the Door Supervisor Course here >>
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 for companies that provide Door Supervisor Work in your area here.