By Kirsty Fraser
As the sibling of two much older brothers – with ten and thirteen year age gaps respectively – I grew up in a household where everyone already had their various career paths pinned down. The youngest of my brothers joined the British Armed Forces as a teenager and was quickly deployed to barracks around the world. It became common to see him only during 2 week leave breaks and knowing he wasn’t going to be there during celebrations such as birthdays, Christmas and New Year became the norm. After 12 years in the Army – and a rise in the ranks to Sergeant – John decided that it was time to call it a day. But what opportunities were available for someone back home who had served his country for all of his adult life? As it turned out, the job he wanted wasn’t too dissimilar to what he’d spent the last decade of his life already doing.
Name: John Fraser
Job Title: G4S, Close Protection Officer
Role: 8 week stints chaperoning clients around Iraq’s capital, under Armed Guard, as part of their BP contract.
Daily Life: the role itself is based within the oil fields in the Iraqi capital – over 100km of flat, desert land which is policed by the Iraqi Army and the Iraq Oil Police. Checkpoints are scattered throughout the area and normal daily life goes on despite the environment.
John says of the client base: they range from management within BP, to workers who are crane operators, scaffolders; anybody that basically has to go out into the oil field and work. Jobs will come out the night before giving specific information as to the clients, how many there are and the locations you’re going to be visiting the next day. I then brief all the team members – this also includes briefing the Iraqi interpreter for the team. Most of the team members live in the Basra area so they would then come into work and we’d go through the process of prepping vehicles, making sure the kit is there, briefing the team, getting weapons and ensuring everything is correct prior to deployment.
Highlights: as well as the fact that everyday can bring new challenges, I get to work with a range of people from various backgrounds and nationalities. None more so than within the team itself, which also consists of Iraqi team members. It’s always hard to try and build trust with anybody because you don’t know their background inside out, but you always try and remain positive and have a friendly approach to them.
Low Points: there are great risks and being away from home and family for weeks at a time is tough.
How to get involved: as you would expect, in order to get involved in a role such as this stringent security checks are vital. Candidates must be in good physical condition, have knowledge of weapons and be willing to work in an unsafe environment. The dreaded term ‘experience necessary’ is also likely to come into play. The financial rewards for successful candidates though can be very good.
Find out more: The G4S website offers a wide-range of roles around the world. As well as this, job sites such as Monster usually have similar roles available online.