This document summarizes the methodology used to develop the training syllabus for both security guards and private investigators under the Private Security and Investigative Services Act, 2005. The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services developed the syllabus required for mandatory training and the following were the key steps used in the methodology:

  1. occupational grouping and job analysis
  2. skills modeling
  3. validation of the job analyses and skills modeling data
  4. identification of training requirements, syllabus design and validation

Occupational grouping and job analysis

“Occupational groups,” composed of private security and investigative positions, were established to determine the necessary training requirements for each syllabus. The private security industry was regularly consulted to ensure the accuracy of the different groupings and to discuss the distinctions that exist between the various positions. A review of existing materials on the security industry was conducted in addition to working with industry representatives, resulting in the following definitions for the different occupational groups:

  • private investigators (PI)
  • security guards with “no active intervention” (SG1)
  • security guards with “active intervention” (SG2)

Once the occupational groups were established, a formal job analysis was completed to catalogue the components that comprised each position. The analysis was conducted using “Functional Job Analysis” (FJA) methodology, which focuses on the tasks that comprise a job and views each task as the smallest complete unit of work activity. The end product of the FJA is a list of “task statements,” which indicate the required knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) to achieve a specific task.

The FJA of an occupation requires input from job incumbents through a facilitated focus-group format. The ministry conducted focus group sessions for each occupational category. The focus groups were composed of individuals based on their experience, industry sector, gender, minority representation, and geography to ensure an accurate representation of the diversity, tasks and employment profile of the security industry in Ontario. To participate in a focus group, individuals were required to have a minimum of two years’ experience and his/her manager’s recommendation.

Skills modeling

The knowledge, skills and abilities required by the different occupational groups were defined in detail after they were identified by the FJA. Performance-Oriented Skills Modeling (POSM) methodology was used to achieve a detailed definition of each skill and to articulate the standards for assessing skill performance. Similar to the FJA, the POSM methodology employs a facilitated focus group format with industry job incumbents as participants.

A POSM focus group session was conducted for each occupational group following the FJA focus groups and the same participants were used.

Validation of the job analysis and skills modeling data

After the task statements were formally drafted, and the knowledge, skills and abilities formally defined, a survey was conducted with the primary objective of validating this data. The “Ontario 2007 Security Guard and Private Investigator Job Survey” listed 45 task statements, 79 knowledge and skills statements, and included general questions addressing role identification, location, experience, etc. Respondents (individuals in the security industry) were asked to evaluate each statement in terms of its applicability to their role, importance, clarity, frequency (task statement only), and if it was required before they started their career (KSA statements only). Prior to distribution, the survey was piloted as a draft questionnaire with professional security guards.

The distribution of the survey followed a “stratified random sampling” approach, which randomly selected individuals from important groups (i.e. strata) to receive the survey. For example, security personnel were randomly selected for survey distribution within different regions of the province to ensure representation of geographic location. Copies of the survey were also distributed to various private investigator firms, security firms and organizations, and the survey was posted on the ministry’s website and open to all security personnel in the province.

The results from the survey and statistical analysis confirmed the accuracy of the task statements, definitions of the knowledge, skills and abilities, and the occupational groupings.

Identification of training requirements, syllabus design and validation

Results from the job analysis and the skills modeling served as the foundation for the final two stages of the syllabus development: identification of training requirements, syllabus design and validation. At this stage, an extensive review of existing materials pertinent to the training of the different occupational groups was conducted. This included research on books, papers and journals related to training design, security training, occupational licensing, use of force, the Canadian General Standards Board standards for security guards and security guards officers, and materials from security training programs offered by educational institutions and training agencies in Ontario.

Identification of training requirements

To identify the necessary training requirements, focus group sessions comprised of subject matter experts were conducted: one session for private investigators and a second for security guards.

Over the course of each session, the focus group reviewed the job analysis, skills modeling and research data. This was followed by a facilitated discussion to identify the KSAs that needed to be developed as part of the training program (i.e. training requirements) and to compose a draft of instructional objectives.

Syllabus design and validation

Once the training requirements were identified, each focus group met for a session to design the syllabus. The sessions addressed syllabus content (courses), delivery methods, course durations, course sequencing, program duration, and methods/approaches for training delivery.

The data collected from the sessions was consolidated, structured and compiled into the syllabus. The results from the survey analysis were also considered when forming the syllabus structure.

When the syllabus had been drafted, summary presentations for each occupational group were held for academic experts and the contents were validated.