Getting a second chance in the security sector

One thing became strikingly clear when we spoke with Chandra, a Security Officer – learning happens regardless of age, impacts our livelihood, no matter the job we hold. 

Chandra’s story touched our hearts as he took us through the story of how he ventured into the security industry at age 50 years old after being in the manufacturing industry for close to 30 years. He shares how the change came about and how he overcame various hurdles in equipping himself with the relevant skill sets to excel in the security industry.

What kind of roles have you taken on in the past?

Chandra: “I spent almost half my life doing marketing and sales, mainly in the Oil & Gas as well as the Manufacturing industries. It was exciting and I am grateful for the experiences; I had opportunities to travel for work as I was handling the entire APAC/SEAO region.

I managed to work my way up to a senior position, but unfortunately most of the companies I worked for ended up closing down. I was lucky enough to have good connections that helped me find suitable positions when my company closed down. There were also good perks that came with the jobs I had – I was offered a car and travel. I was also thankful to be given the opportunity to experience a lot of new cultures from my roles.”

How did you equip yourself to join the security industry?

Chandra: I joined the security industry in 2011 and got a lot of help from NTUC; as a member, I could claim my Skillsfuture course fees and hours from UTAP. The union also helped me finish the security module and course quickly, and also issued the certification within a week.

Over the years, I have also attended upskilling and courses for certification to climb up the security ladder. Under the Progressive Wage Model (PWM), I think I have also been better equipped with the relevant skill sets to perform at my job. With these skills, I also managed to climb up the ranks that promised higher reimbursement according to the positions I hold.

What are you actively doing right now and what are your plans for the future?

Source: Chandra

Chandra: I’m still taking courses to keep myself current and abreast of the latest security developments. I just finished the Chief Security Officer (CSO) course, and I hope to take 2 more modules so that I can obtain a full cert in Security Management.

I was previously active as a community leader in Hougang Grassroots, and also volunteered for Meet The People Sessions. I hope to get back soon if my schedule permits me to!

So, what is the Progressive Wage Model, and why should you care?

The Progressive Wage Model (PWM) helps uplift our lower-wage workers by increasing the wages of workers through upgrading skills and productivity, and was lobbied for by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC). It is a productivity based model that seeks to prevent unemployment typically caused by a minimum wage policy.

It has been implemented in the security and cleaning sectors, with the most recent being the landscape maintenance industry.

How does the PWM work in the security sectors? 

Looking at Chandra’s situation as a case study, the constant upskilling (e.g. going for courses) helped him progress into various positions in the security sector, in turn resulting in better wages. 


According to a chart on the Ministry of Manpower (MOM)’s and the Union of Security Employees (USE), there’s a 5-tier progression for those who wish to enter the security industry. It is mandatory for security agencies to meet the PWM requirements to obtain or renew their licences.

Source: Ministry of Manpower website

For training, aspiring security officers can tap on the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications for Security (Security WSQ). NTUC members can also claim hours and fees from the Union Training Assistance Programme (UTAP). 

About Author

Editing is my work.