It’s National Careers Week and with Security & Policing 2024 only a week away, we have invited Ruby Buxton, Innovation and Skills Adviser at the Home Office’s Joint Security and Resilience Centre (JSaRC) to give her insight into career opportunities in this sector. The UK security and resilience sector directly employs more than 145,000 people across the UK, including nearly 6,000 apprentices.

Ruby, tell us about your career so far

I completed a master’s degree at Cranfield University in Forensic Investigation, this was a fantastic degree which provided me with some excellent foundation skills such as communication, teamwork and problem solving

After I left university, I worked as a Forensic Ecology Consultation, which provided me with the following skills – critical thinking, adaptability, written and verbal communication. I decided to utilise these transferable skills by joining the Civil Service.

My first role in the Civil Service was as an Operational Border Force Officer at Heathrow Airport in Immigration. This role provided me with an excellent foundation understanding of National Security in a fast-paced, operational setting. After a year, I was promoted to Operational Border Force Higher Officer, where I lead large teams under pressure, developed skills in conflict management and gained fantastic leadership experience.

In November 2021, I joined the Joint Security and Resilience Centre (JSaRC) on promotion as a Senior Executive Officer for Innovation & Skills. In this role, I am tasked with ensuring that JSaRC delivers its responsibility under the Defence and Security Industrial Strategy for the security sector. This includes leading a dedicated skills workstream with representatives from across government and the private security sector, to establish the current level of outreach and communication on security-related skills to the education system. As well as identifying initiatives, including existing ones, that could be developed to ensure a wider and more diverse group of individuals can be reached.

Therefore, in 2022 I launched JSaRC’s first Skills Working Group. Membership comprises of senior representatives from the private security industry. The Skills Working Group aims to encourage the next generation to consider a career in security; through supporting the creation of a clear careers pathway, raising the profiles of different educational routes such as security-related apprenticeships, and ultimately working in partnership to address skills shortages that are currently impacting the security sector.

Whilst in JSaRC, I have been fortunate enough to also undertake a 12-month temporary promotion as the Innovation & Skills Lead. This proved an excellent opportunity to develop my strategic thinking, advance my stakeholder management skills and grow the necessary skillset to further my career.

Being part of the JSaRC team has provided me with lots of fantastic experiences, such as contributing to the official UK Government global security event, Home Office Security & Policing exhibition, and attending the House of Commons to support Security Sector Skills-based initiatives.

What are the in-demand skills for the security sector?

The security sector offers a vast range of roles, such as cyber, physical, and personal security. Each of these roles requires specific skills:

  • Cyber – Ability to use role-specific technological, logical reasoning and leadership skills.
  • Physical security – Ability to use role-specific technological, communication and the ability to react well under pressure skills.
  • Personal security – Interpersonal, observation and teamwork skills.

Currently, in-line with National Security technology advancements; there is an in-demand requirement for digital, computing and technology skills.

Having a range of soft and transferable skills, such as time management and self-motivation is extremely beneficial for those seeking a role in the security sector. Soft and transferable skills are developed at all stages of life, meaning that your future career in security is not dependent on the education level that you have studied to or a previous career in another other sector. For example, from participating in a team sport, you are likely to develop transferable skills such as goal setting, resilience, and leadership. All of which will support your career progression in security.

Where do you see opportunities for those wanting to get into the sector?

There are lots of different opportunities to join the security sector. These range from entry level jobs within the Civil Service, in an operational or policy-based role to undertaking one of the varied positions available in the private security industry, such as forensic computer analyst, security systems installer, dog handler etc.

There are many different routes into the sector via a range of educational levels – all of which can offer you a fantastic career pathway into security. From a foundation level, opportunities are available for individuals who have completed GCSEs, A Levels, BTECs, T Levels and apprenticeships. Many employers now offer apprenticeships in a range of security-related courses. Apprenticeship routes are a fantastic way to start on a career pathway in security and offer many benefits, such as skills development, the opportunity to earn while you learn and culminate in a recognised qualification. Furthermore, many higher education routes, including undergraduate and postgraduate degrees also can provide the excellent starting point for a career in security.

To learn more about the vast career opportunities in the sector, please take a look at the Security Skills Brochure below. It was launched in October 2023 via JSaRC’s partnership approach, which ensured collaboration with a range of Key Industry Partners including CCL Solutions Ltd, Security Institute, SIA, BSIA, Skills for Security, RISC and The Security Skills Board.

JSaRC is now looking to support other government departments, private security industry and academia to improve the security sector’s skills gap. To register your interest, please email:

Security & Policing – convening the security and resilience sector at the official UK Government global security event

Established over 41 years ago and having a global influence, the Home Office Security & Policing event is the corner-stone of the security calendar and is the only ‘closed’ event of its kind.

Following success of the first-ever student visit to Security & Policing in 2023, representatives from JSaRC’s Innovation & Skills team are organising two different student visits for 2024.

  1. We welcome post-graduate students from Cranfield University, studying Digital Forensics MSc. These students will undertake a bespoke agenda which includes talks with companies that focus in digital forensics.
  2. We introduce sixth form students from the John Madejski Academy to the vast career opportunities available in security.

Both agendas include the opportunity to undertake the live Immersive Experience – Destination: Churchill Station, engage with a variety of exhibitors and meet with senior representatives from the security sector.

The visits aim to showcase the many excellent career pathways available in the sector and hopes to inspire the next generation to start a career in security.

JSaRC are eager to extend this opportunity to other schools, colleges or universities for future shows. To register your educational establishment’s interest, please email:

Security Skills Brochure

Security Sector Skills Brochure