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By Victoria Nkemdilim Ogbuehi CPP, PCI, MSyl
Young Professionals (YP) Global Outreach Coordinator, Africa
ASIS International

The challenges that young security professionals in Africa face is nothing different from what their contemporaries from other continents face; the difference is in the magnitude of these challenges. According to the International Labor Organization’s report, World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2019, “many of the 3.3 billion people employed throughout the world are working under poor conditions that do not offer economic security, decent work opportunities, and lack material well-being.” Of the ten countries with the highest unemployment rates in the world, six are in Africa (i.e., Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Kenya, Libya, Namibia, Senegal). Growing Africa’s talent pool of young professionals, poised for future global and regional leadership positions, is of the utmost importance when looking at the security needs on the African continent.

With these economic and professional challenges in mind, the Young Professionals (YP) program in Africa recently hosted a global discussion to address the needs of younger security professionals. We looked at the current challenges due to Covid-19 pandemic, and how young professionals in African could become even more resilient with respect to their careers. Having the right academic and certification credentials is not enough anymore; experience still matters quite a bit here (as it does elsewhere in the world).

General unemployment issues in Africa are not exclusive to the security industry. However, security is one of the professions where expectations and the economic landscape are constantly evolving—with many qualified persons having difficulty finding opportunities mainly due to a limited number of security job vacancies. Prior experience is playing an increasingly important role in the hiring process. The event’s focus addressed the following issues and challenges facing YP’s on the African continent:

  • Where are the job opportunities for young security professionals? Now and in the future?
  • The need of a robust mentorship program aimed at shaping the YP’s career progression and engaging more established professional to assist their younger counterparts.
  • The culture of security certifications in this region.
  • How can the profession assist African YP’s build their resilience skills?

With all these in mind, we assembled leading global security professionals with diverse perspectives and backgrounds within the profession. Our esteemed panelists addressed issues ranging from transitioning one’s career from law enforcement into the world of security to strengthening ties between young and seasoned security professionals.

The program took place 22-24 July 2020 with participation from hundreds of ASIS International members and other security professionals from five continents—Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. This event actively addressed personal resilience and building a successful security career. It also highlighted the willingness of security professionals to share their insights and perspectives with the next generation of security leaders. We identified specific areas where these YP’s could benefit the most, and focused on several key (holistic) issues, including:

  • Guidance on how to become members of ASIS International, and the role ASIS can play in one's career.
  • The role of certification, and what certification is most suitable for young professionals based on their career experience and goals.
  • The need for robust mentorship programs.
  • The role of volunteerism within the security profession.
  • The power (and importance) of networking and collaboration as a security professional.

With this new perspective, the African YP leadership has created teams within the group to begin responding to the concerns and issues addressed at this event in 2020 and assess our progress in Q1 2021.

If you have an interest in learning more about Africa’s YP programming, please contact Victoria Nkemdilim Ogbuehi CPP, PCI, MSyl, at [email protected]