The locksmithing profession has been around for centuries. The primary role of a locksmith is to fit and repair all types of locks, latches and security devices for homes, business and automobiles. Some locksmiths fit sophisticated security systems like closed-circuit television and electronic access systems. Locksmithing professionals is estimated to be 3,000 in the UK, majority of them are traders owning small business. Locksmithing is a long term career and it takes years to learn the knowledge required. Completing a locksmith training course is the most vital step in becoming a professional locksmith. You need to have an interest in lock and key system plus customer service skills to succeed in this profession.
Services offered by locksmiths:
Domestic – Key duplication and 24-hour emergency lock out service. Change locks to protect family members and belongings. Security system installation, repair and security upgrades.
Car – auto locksmithing service include replacement of car key, mending and replacing ignition.
Safe engineers – professional locksmiths are qualified to service safes and electronic devices for vaults and bank teller equipment.
Commercial – locksmiths can service access control and alarm system for businesses of any size and industries.
Locksmiths often give advice on security and safety issues. A locksmith needs a high level of technical skill and expert knowledge of a wide range of lock assemblies and security devices.
It is difficult to buy professional locksmith tools without a locksmith certification. Make sure you receive your certification from a reputable training centre to be recognised by locksmith tool suppliers. If the police found you in possession of locksmith tools and you cannot prove that you are a locksmith then you could face criminal prosecution.
There is an increasing number of 2-3 day unregulated locksmithing courses across the country, wannabe locksmiths should consider the training courses before signing up. Locksmith apprenticeship helps to formalize the locksmithing profession. Locksmith apprenticeship in the British Midlands takes at least 12 months to make you fully qualified. Formal apprenticeship would provide appropriate training and stop unqualified people to set themselves up as trainers.
There is an intermediate level apprenticeship for locksmiths in England. Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with study. You can become an apprentice if you are 16 years old and older, eligible to work in England and not in full-time education. There is a funding available for apprenticeship. For 16 – 18 years old the course is fully funded. 19 years old and older apprenticeship is part funded with 50% employer contribution.
There is still no nationally recognized qualification in locksmithing. The only one that exists is the level 2 qualification which is currently offered through HABC (Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance) as the awarding body. This regulated qualification has been designed with employers and trade bodies to provide apprentices with the skills required to work in the Locksmith sector. In order to achieve the HABC Level 2 Certificate in Locksmithing (QCF) apprentice must achieve five units in mandatory group and a range of optional units to include a minimum of 31 credits overall.
The earning potential for locksmith is very lucrative as you set your prices and your availability. Apprentice can start at around £13,000 a year. Earnings can range from £14,000 to over £25,000 with experience. You may be able to start your locksmithing career by taking Locksmithing Apprenticeship from MLA Master Locksmiths Association which is recognized as the authoritative body for locksmithing by the police. The MLA qualifications are recognized throughout the industry. You could also try contacting local locksmithing companies if they can take you on and train you on the job.