Business Profile: KB Security and Training

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Business Profile: KB Security and Training

From a local security guard job in Tesco Metro, to a self made business man with over 120 staff members .The founder of the business, Kenyon Barker, had been in the security industry for a number of years before deciding to form his own company. We chat with Kenyon to find out what he had to go through to get to where he is today.

With over 10 years in the industry, KB Security and Training have worked on festivals, private events, close protection and corporate events. The business has had a natural growth since its inception, due to Kenyon building its reputation as a professional, reputable and friendly firm.

Speaking to Kenyon, it is clear to see that respect and professionalism are his top priorities when it comes to his business. With offices based in Newton Abbot, KB Security has teams in both London and Plymouth to offer security to a range of nationwide events.

“I formed my own security company because I’ve worked in that area for years. I have seen the good and bad companies. This gave me the motivation to decide the only way to bring the security industry above and beyond the standard set was to form my own company and be selective on the quality of staff we offer to our clients”.

“My first security job was when I was aged 21. I worked at Tesco Metro in Plymouth town centre. It was interesting! It was all new to me at the time”. As Kenyon found out, Security can of course be a risky profession.

In just his first week of employment, he was attacked by a customer attempting to steal goods from the store. “I had no official training, but when somebody is coming at you the body has three natural reactions, fight, flight or freeze. Mine was fight in that moment!”

The human body has three natural reactions, fight, flight or freeze

Luckily, Kenyon was not hurt in the process and after working his position for 8 months, family matters meant that Kenyon made the move to Northumberland. He was eventually employed by Aspers Casino in Newcastle. “At this point, I had my Close Protection license. There were a lot of footballers coming in, and a lot of high end clients wanting to spend money. It was a high profile job”.

Kenyon tells us of a major incident that happened at a Phoenix bar when he was 25 years old. “I was working for Phoenix Security, a very professional agency”. Kenyon and another Security operative were attacked by a group of 15 individuals”. This resulted in me being off my feet for over a year”.

I live by a motto, it is what it is. Life is always going to throw things at you. Stand there and take it on the chin

“Of course, that night I took it on most of my body! Cuts, bruises and bones, they heal. I was in hospital for 3 weeks and had physiotherapy for a while following on from that”. At this point, Kenyon was unable to work so had to take the time out to rebuild himself.

Resilience is clearly something Kenyon has in abundance, as this didn’t stop him from pursuing his career path further.

After building up his employment portfolio rapidly through his diverse range of jobs, Kenyon explains that he was working in Close Protection abroad when everything changed.

Kenyon’s relationship with his wife at the time had failed, and after attempts to rekindle for the sake of the couple’s two children wasn’t working out, Kenyon’s ex-wife moved up north with the children. “I was a complete mess. I am physically resilient yes, but mentally- I think everybody has a breaking point”.

At this point in his life, Kenyon was living and working in Cornwall. “It was 9 months after a clean break with my ex-partner when she had started to go downhill”. 5 years ago, at the age of 27- Kenyon made the decision to quit everything and fight for custody of his children.

“I had absolutely nothing for them. No clothes, no bed for them to sleep in. My dad was amazing; he helped financially so I could get myself started up again”. Kenyon took on a role as a health care assistant at a nursing home in Plympton, as the hours meant he could spend more time at home. “I needed to get my children sorted; I needed to get myself sorted”.

KB Security was first formed when Kenyon had been working as a healthcare assistant for a year. He decided to set up his own company, working self employed. “I was approached by a previous employer- Expedient Security, to come and be a manager for them”.

Kenyon had worked for Expedient in 2012 at the Olympics. “It was such a great experience. Expedient are like family to me now. They helped me set up my own business and continue to support me to this day”.

Expedient were Kenyon’s only client in the early stages- so he was very picky on staff as he was keen to impress. “I am not an interview person. I like to see people working, see what they can do”. Having a small team enabled Kenyon time to learn how to grow and run the business successfully.

Being the Managing Director of KB Security and Training LTD is a challenging, yet rewarding experience

Kenyon prides himself on the fact that, until recently he hasn’t had to advertise to gain work or staff. He explains that this is down to the reputation he has built for both himself and his company. “Word got out that I was a good person to work for, so I had people approaching me”. In regards to taking on new staff, Kenyon explains the importance of a good personal image. “I think this comes from my military background. If you walk in looking like you’ve never seen an iron, it isn’t going to work. I want my guys to look presentable and respectful”.

“I keep my staff happy and that is extremely important. We do a lot of travelling, a lot of time away from our families. I have to make sure that what they do is acknowledged and rewarded”.

Respect is very high on my list of priorities, I respect people and I expect to be respected in return. Because of this my team is like one big family, we have that understanding

“If anyone needs me, they can call up at stupid o clock and I will do everything I can to help them. I will always be a friend first, but my business comes just before- they don’t understand what I mean by that but it makes sense to me!”

All together I have 80 SIA and on average about 80 stewards at present. Steve Middleton is my operations manager, and his partner Jayne Elphick does my HR. Without them I would have buckled a long time ago. I took them on this year and they’ve been a real asset to the company”.

KB Security offer their own training programmes. Kenyon has a contract with Western College, meaning that he can help people through the necessary courses and offer them an application form to potentially work for him if successful. “I train staff myself. First aid, PI- security is your first point of call. I want my staff to be confident and react straight away in the event of someone approaching them for help”.

“All stewards hold, or are working towards their NVQ level 2 in spectator safety. All Supervisors who hold door supervisor licence have, or are working towards their level 3 and all managers have or are working towards their level 4 spectator safety qualification”.

The level of qualification and constant training enables us to give a better quality service for all events

Kenyon tells us how, for the past two years they’ve been brought in to run Arcadia at Glastonbury. For anyone who isn’t familiar with the set up, it really is a spectacular event! “I absolutely love it. There are huge risk assessments involved in something as big as Glastonbury”. Kenyon explains how the security profession is extremely reactive, and you can’t anticipate anything. “When you get a rush from the main stage you have to prepare for that. 20,000 people already there, and in 10 seconds you’re going to get a surge of another 20,000. You have to constantly think on your feet”.

So what does the future hold for KB Security? Kenyon explains that he would love to run his own event. “I would like provide the entire security, solely through KB. It would run under my banner, and my logo”. Kenyon also tells us that he would like to break into the Plymouth market a bit more. “I have successful contracts in London. Plymouth is my home. We have contracts with local boxing events but I would love to grow this further”.

With Kenyon’s resilience, determination and professionalism, there is absolutely no doubt that if he continues to grow his business, with the help of his team- these goals will soon become reality.

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