By Pat Carter and John Paul Gennaro, Algonquin College
As First Year Corporate Security and Risk Management students at Algonquin College, we have engaged in a regimen of field trips, guest speakers, reunions, meetings and acronyms that would reduce the average student to a blubbering heap. And we’ve loved every second of it. From day one of orientation in September, the impending importance of our career paths has been impressed upon us. The number of doors that we’ve realized are open to us has proven to be more broad than any of us had anticipated; with a path for everyone from the technically minded to those looking for a managerial position in the federal government. We now know that the skills and services we are learning to provide will be highly sought after in government, commerce, and industry.
In first semester we were introduced to the dual concepts of corporate security and emergency management, with the overarching themes of teamwork and leadership throughout. Through our research projects, we’ve been taught to learn from the successes, and the mistakes, of others’ experiences. We’ve learned to research and apply techniques and technologies specific to the industry and how to apply general smart business practices all the while. Our professors have stressed to us the importance of networking. In that spirit, many of us have attended CSIS meetings to listen to speakers talk about their experiences and organizations, met with former students at a reunion so that we could see first-hand just where the program could take us, an even applied for jobs in the industry to get our feet in the door. Perhaps even more importantly, we were given the opportunity to attend the Canadian Emergency Management College to participate in a tabletop exercise. In short, in the first six months of the program we’ve been immersed in the world of corporate security and risk management.
In second semester, the theory continues. However, we’re also beginning to apply the knowledge we’ve learned in a series of group projects aimed at everything from developing a personal safety plan for the college, to creating our own security companies and defining all aspects of their inner workings. We’re learning about BIAs, BCPs, TRAs, SOPs, MSLs, MADs, the GSP, and everything else that can be boiled down into a convenient TLA (Three Letter Acronym). In the near future we look forward to taking the next step towards our careers by engaging in the work placement selection process.
We are all eagerly looking forward to the challenges that second year will bring. We know that there is a great deal of technical knowledge that we have yet to learn, and that we have an interesting year ahead of us. We hope that, in a years’ time, we can report back with the news that we have all met the challenges with which we are tasked.
Submission via Catherine Di Cesare:
“This might be of interest for the CSIS Inc. Student Zone. It’s an article that was written for the Algonquin Times about the changes that are coming for the CSRM program at Algonquin. An abbreviated version appeared in an October edition of Algonquin Times.”
Whether the change will involve merely adding a third year to the program, or it will be taught in conjunction with Carleton University and offer graduates a criminology degree, has yet to be decided.
“There’s been the odd course that could have been better organized, but I’m learning a lot,” said Catherine DiCesare, second-year student in corporate security and risk management. DiCesare chose the program because she was interested in emergency response and wanted to become a paramedic. Due to some physical restrictions, she was unable to, so she chose something “more behind the scenes.”
Celeste Butler-Rohland, another second-year student in the program, entered corporate security and risk management after having studied to become an electrician. Both she and DiCesare share similar sentiments about the program and the changes it may undergo.
However, in terms of the possible change to three years, Butler-Rohland points out that most people coming out of high school do not want to attend a three-year program, or if they do, they choose to go to university.
Looking back on her experiences, DiCesare said that she doesn’t know if she would have chosen corporate security and risk management if it was three years long.
Other second-year students feel the program could change for the better.
“I think the reality is, as a security professional, we’re gonna face IT. It’s the way it is, get used to it now. Policy is boring,” said Palmer.
All four of Palmer, Deterville, Butler-Rohland and DiCesare agree that the program is a great alternative choice for anyone initially desiring to take police foundations. However, Butler-Rohland points out that “nobody in high school does the research to find that out.”
“If you want to be a police officer, don’t take police foundations,” quips DiCesare. Palmer takes these claims a step further.
“There’s hundreds of kids in there, but the problem with police foundations is, it’s oversaturated,” said Palmer. “Police foundations is basically a money-maker. This program is not a money-maker. Hence, the reason they want to change or get rid of it.”
In terms of the job opportunities available to a graduate of the program, “it will be more attractive to private organizations if it’s a three-year program,” said Palmer. “I think we really focus on placing people in government, but if you can’t get the government what do you do? It would be more attractive [of a program] with specialization like IT security.”
John Harrison, the program coordinator for corporate security and risk management, is currently in the process of researching the best way to revamp the program.
“It is clear that the demands on security are intense and that any new credential in this field will be more rather than less,” said Harrison. “We are speaking of more emphasis on emergency management, strategic and project planning and integrated security systems. There is much interest shown by the private sector as well.”
Welcome to the new wave of student members joining us from Algonquin College’s Corporate Security and Risk Management program. We are honoured to integrate the perspectives of current and future generations – which include students, career builders, rising stars and young leaders. Our meetings are becoming increasingly multi-generational and we’re experiencing a welcome shift that is re-energizing our meetings and membership. Here is a photo taken of some of our student members at a recent CSIS Inc.-NCR Chapter meeting:
Back Row, LtoR: Catherine DiCesare (Student Liaison, CSIS Inc.-NCR Executive), Pat Carter, John Harrison (Program Coordinator, Corporate Security and Risk Management, Algonquin College), Eric Harding, John Paul Gennaro