What does a…If you look at our job landscape, you will see special functions. A field service engineer, a lab technician or an assembly worker: we obviously need them badly, but for what and why? In this series, each week someone tells about his or her profession. Today: Nico Raat (47) is a bodyguard and has his own training company in personal security.
What exactly do you do?
,,Most of the time I deal with the personal security of people abroad, I have many famous clients. But I also do other things in addition to it. This is how we spent last summer recording the TV program The Bodyguard, in which candidates can show who has what it takes to become a bodyguard. In the autumn I will again focus more on the training we provide in personal security and our courses. We do this from my own company Amsterdam Consultancy Group.”
How often are you abroad?
“I used to spend ten to eleven months a year abroad, so now I’m looking for a little more balance.”
Don’t you miss traveling?
,,People always think that traveling is what makes my job so great, that you go everywhere and see a lot of the world. In practice, you actually only see the airports and the locations where you have to secure someone. In addition, there is much more to it, not everyone knows that. We never go anywhere without exploring before. How does it work from a safety point of view, what possible risks are there, how can we avoid them? We do this so that everything runs smoothly for the customer.”
In the past, you’ve worked for celebrities like Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and Kanyé West. How is that?
“People always want to know what such a person is like in real life. But I won’t say anything about that. I wouldn’t like it if people knew everything about my private life.”
What do you like best about your job?
“That you can ensure that protected persons can continue to do what they want. That a columnist or journalist can continue to do his or her job and an artist can continue to perform. I am especially happy if this succeeds despite all the hectic by, for example, hordes of fans.”
We think it should be possible to get a sandwich spontaneously on the way
You are not the first Dutch celebrity personal security officer. Why are the Dutch so popular?
,,I think it is the combination of background and vision. Almost all our boys come from the police or defense. In addition, our mission is to make the situation as bearable as possible for the protected person. Personal security always affects someone’s private life. It’s annoying enough that you need it, then it’s extra sour when you also have to lead a locked life. You can indeed push someone into the car from their home and quickly bring them in on location. That is the safest, but not the most pleasant.
Many security guards are trained on attacks, a very important part, but 99 percent of the time you don’t have to deal with them at all. It is no fun for the people who are being protected if the procedures are so tight. We believe that it should be possible to get a sandwich on the way spontaneously. As long as you don’t hang around too long and don’t put it on Instagram.”
What do you need to be able to do this job?
“In addition to being fit, you also have to be able to figure yourself out. It’s about the protected person, not you. In addition, you should not be so easily impressed by fame and wealth. But perhaps the most important thing is: you should always be alert. Even if you are tired, irritated or hungry. If you secure someone during their vacation and lie quietly on the beach, it is a lot more relaxed. But in a crowded crowd, you have to keep an eye on the behavior of all the people and see exactly how to get away if danger threatens. After a few hours you are really tired.”
How do you see your future in this profession?
“I see more of a coordinating role for myself in the future. I leave the rest to our employees. I also want to further expand the training courses in the Netherlands. That way I can be at home more often. I missed a lot of my kids when they were little. I realized that when I was suddenly more at home in corona time. That has to be different. But I just need the adventure in my work. I wouldn’t be happy with an office job.”
Do you also want a career in security?
As a security guard you can protect the biggest stars in the world, just like Nico. But the security sector is much bigger. For example, they are looking for security guards at Schiphol, where you guarantee safety at the airport. But you can also work at the Van Gogh Museum or work for the national government, for example. On Nationale Vacaturebank you will find relevant vacancies in your region.
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