THE secrets of Britain's entire defence systems were at MarkRoughsedge's fingertips.
As a Ministry of Defence-approved locksmith he had to service their
huge combination locked safes from the Home Counties to RAF Valley.
But before he was allowed near them he had to be vetted by police
and security officials.
'In those days mechanically operated deur openen
safes had to be
serviced,'said Mark from Colwyn Bay who has been a Master Locksmith
for 36 years.
Now, he says the business is changing fast. Electronic locks,
magnetic safes, digital security systems have replaced the old style
locks but skill and high levels of training are still needed.
He has a workshop in Colwyn Bay, travels throughout North Wales and
has contracts in Liverpool and Manchester
What is the work like? Locksmiths install, sell and service locks
and other security devices.
They have an important role in ensuring the security of homes, cars
and businesses against burglary and other crimes. They replace lost keys
and repair damaged security devices. What areas do they cover?
Locksmiths cut keys, making keys to fit locks, fitting locks to doors
and windows, repairing and maintaining security systems, supplying and
fitting access control devices such as push button or swipe card door
They provide a 24-hour call out to people locked out of their cars,
homes or businesses and advise on security measures needed."
Who would I work for? Locksmiths interact with a large range of
people. They may work for individuals or for companies. They may work
alone or with a small team.
They could be installing security for large companies or for
wealthy landowners. A lot of the work is practical using a wide range of
They must be able to spot security weaknesses and advise on a
course of action. What are the working conditions? Full-time locksmiths
work approximately 40 hours a week.
They could be based at a shop, or travel to meet customers on site.
In a shop they may have to work evenings or weekends and if they
offer a 24-hour call out they should be able to cover certain nights.
What would I earn? A trainee can expect about pounds 10,000 a year
rising to pounds 14,000.
A fully qualified self-employed locksmith would earn in excess of
pounds 20,000 a year. What skills and personal qualities would I need?
You must be trustworthy, have a high level of dexterity,
problemsolving skills and be able to communicate with confidence and be
able to gain the trust of your customer.
You must be patient and pay attention to detail, be good at maths
and adapt to new techniques. Where do I train? Currently there are no
accredited schemes directly concerned with locksmithing. However there
are training courses provided by the British Locksmiths Institute, which
are recognised throughout the industry.
They range from school leavers' courses to advanced
locksmithing which take place at the institute headquarters in Daventry.
Individuals can apply for student membership without prior
experience. They have a threeyear study course to become an advanced
student. There are further examinations to gain Full, Fellow and Master