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FIA officially launches new fire engineering qualifications

FIREX 2017 The Fire Industry Association (FIA) officially launched their new qualifications in fire detection and alarms at FIREX 2017. FIA general manager Martin Duggan delivered three presentations about the new qualifications, one on each day of the three-day exhibition. The seminars were very well attended and it was a great opportunity to answer questions directly from visitors at the show, he said.

These qualifications have taken years of development and we are really excited to share with the industry exactly what shape the qualifications will take. We ve taken on new staff and had a small shake-up of the FIA team in preparation for the launch of the qualifications in order to answer all those initial questions and to ensure that the booking process goes smoothly. The FIA said the new courses met with a positive response from attendees working in all areas of the supply chain, as well as interest from beyond the UK. There are four new qualifications: designer, installer, maintainer, and commissioner, explained Duggan. They are equivalent to a level 3 in the UK, so that is the same as an A-Level, but in Europe it is the same as a level 4 qualification on the European qualifications framework. FIA general manager Martin Duggan delivers FIREX 2017 seminar The FIA handed out course prospectuses as well as snacks and drinks on its stand the FIA Lounge which was designed to resemble a pub. The FIA Lounge was very successful, said Kat Schabowska, marketing communications executive at the FIA. We had back-to-back enquiries at the information desk and the bar area was full every day of the expo. We are delighted to be able to say that this year s footfall on our stand was even better than last year.

Martin Duggan says the new courses introduce elements not hitherto available in existing FIA courses. We did a gap analysis of our current training and the new qualifications to discover how much more the new qualifications would offer. The results show us that the courses will at least double in size, explained Martin Duggan during his presentation. We ve developed some units that are completely new, plus we added extra sections that industry stakeholders and employers have asked for. Our members have very much guided us in this direction towards including more content and making the courses longer and more extensive, in order to stretch the learners knowledge further than before. Said Kat Schabowska: We recommend that if you re interested in our new qualifications or courses that you sign up to our email newsletter to find out when our booking system will go live. The new qualifications prospectus is available to download for free from the FIA website, or a hard copy can be requested by emailing [email protected]

Multiple approvals for British and EU markets would cost the fire industry millions of pounds

FIREX 2017 IFSEC Global caught up with former Royal Navy firefighter Ian Moore about the FIA s new engineering qualifications, the innovations on show at FIREX 2017, his forthcoming talk at Europe s largest fire-safety show, and the need for a holistic approach to fire safety. Ian joined the FIA in September 2015 as the new CEO. Previously to this Ian was the Managing Director of several companies operating in the fire and security industry the most recent being Elmdene International and as a Vice President of Potter Signal.

Recently Chairman of the BSIA Export Council and BSIA Operating Board, member of several fire and security committees, he has a wealth of experience to bring. Having lived in Oman, Taiwan and UAE, Ian also brings strong International experience to support any export activities of the FIA and its members. IFSEC Global: How did you first become involved with fire safety? Ian Moore: Coming from being a weapons engineer in the Royal Navy, I misread the advertisement and thought it said Fire Arms and not Fire Alarms ! In all seriousness, I was fully trained as a firefighter in the Royal Navy and had responsibility on various ships for the fire detection, alarm and sprinkler systems fitted thought the ammunition magazines. Upon leaving the forces, it was by chance I saw the advertisement and the rest, as they say, is history. IG: Could you briefly outline what you plan to cover at FIREX? IM: The FIA s overriding message is that of raising the bar on professionalism. We believe by individual s professional qualifications and companies audited by a third party is the only way to ensure this happens.

In addition we want to promote what the FIA can do for its members which is multifaceted. IG: How much of an impact do you think the new FIA engineering qualifications will have on the skills crisis? IM: I believe it will have a huge impact as does most of the industry given the comments we have received during a recent market survey. We need to make the fire industry attractive to young entrants into the job market and having a formal qualification gained through training is a big step towards that goal. With the potential of a reduction in European skilled labour (due to BREXIT), it is very much the right time to be introducing these qualifications so that we do not get to a crisis point (although many would say we are at that point already). IG: What impact do you think Brexit might have on the fire industry and is there anything the industry can do to prepare or protect itself? IM: Brexit means different things to different companies and cannot be rounded off as good or bad. Once we know the true deals then companies will navigate themselves towards the best for them and their offering. Standards and compliance (specifically to EN) is critical and it is important Government/BSI ensure we don t end up in a position that manufacturers need multiple approvals to cover British and EU markets this would cost the industry millions of pounds in wasted fees/costs.

IG: Are there any recent fire safety innovations that you re particularly excited about? IM: There are a few and they will be on shown during FIREX. To name one that comes to mind, given that I have an imminent meeting on the subject, is Coltraco s constant monitoring of liquefied and non-liquefied gaseous extinguishing systems and water/air-tight integrity by using ultrasonic technology. It s great to see innovation, not just for innovation s sake, but something that can a make a real difference in ensuring life/property safety systems you are relying on are ready to deliver when required. IG: Is there anything that hasn t be spoken about in this Q&A that you think is important to get out to the public? IM: I believe we should always have a holistic view when it comes to fire safety. Each company will obviously promote their products/services as the right solution. Commercial decisions often reduce the option to fit belt and braces so the best solution for the money is sought. Getting a professional risk assessment will go a long way to guiding on the options so spend the time and money in ensuring you get the best advice/guidance as it will save you in the long run and will increase your chances of fitting an effective life /property safety solution.

See Ian Speak at FIREX 2017. Register for the event here. Visit FIREX International for cutting-edge solutions, essential knowledge and the ability to grow your business by getting direct access to the whole fire safety industry. It is the perfect place to get your product in front of thousands of buyers, across a multitude of featured areas. From the brand new Drone Zone, the ARC Village, ASFP Passive Protection Zone, the Engineers of Tomorrow competition and more, it s all under one roof so you ll never miss a beat.

Click here to register your place now to join us at London Excel on 20 22 June

FIA launches fire detection and alarm engineering qualifications

skills crisis The Fire Industry Association (FIA) has revealed that it s launching four new engineering qualifications for the fire detection and alarm sector. Open for applications from early July the qualifications will equip students to become system designers, installers, maintainers or commissioners. The FIA has consulted extensively with employers, recruiters and member organisations in designing the four new courses.

Years in the making the qualifications are suited to both anyone who want to join the sector as well as those already working in the industry. Professional in-depth knowledge The courses, says the FIA, will provide a professional in-depth knowledge of each specialist field. They sit at level 3 on the regulated qualifications framework (RQF), equivalent to an A-Level or NVQ Level 3. They arealso equivalent to level 4 on the European qualifications framework, a level higher than that specified in EN 16763, the newly released services standard that specifies the minimum level of education for those working in the fire and security services sectors. Our members and learners have very much guided us in the process of designing these new qualifications, said Ian Gurling, training manager for the FIA. Through surveys and feedback, we ve kept an open dialogue with the industry to create qualifications that will be hugely beneficial to both learners and employers. It became important early on to us to design new qualifications that cover a wide range of theory, but in a way that is relevant to each individual job role within the fire detection and alarms sector. Best practice The course begins with a foundation unit, which provides a thorough understanding of relevant standards and industry best practice. Learners can then progress through other units before choosing a final unit from a choice of four on design, installation, maintainence or commissioning.

In order to create these qualifications, we had to set up an awarding organisation, to formally recognise the qualifications, and register the new qualifications with Ofqual, continues Gurling. The new awarding organisation, I m proud to reveal, is called the FIA AO: the Fire Industry Association Awarding Organisation. The qualifications will be available nationwide at multiple education centres in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and are approved by the relevant government bodies for official qualifications in each country. The FIA recently put together this video and this infographic about the skills crisis besetting the industry. The FIA will officially launch the qualifications on their stand at FIREX International (20-22 June, ExCel London ). Anyone visiting FIREX Europe s largest annual trade show for the fire sector ( get your free badge now ) can pick up a brochure, ask questions or listen to one of the FIA s seminars to find out more about the new qualifications. Monitor the FIA website for further announcements about the qualifications or sign up to their newsletter to receive more updates straight to your inbox. Visit FIREX International for cutting-edge solutions, essential knowledge and the ability to grow your business by getting direct access to the whole fire safety industry. It is the perfect place to get your product in front of thousands of buyers, across a multitude of featured areas.

From the brand new Drone Zone, the ARC Village, ASFP Passive Protection Zone, the Engineers of Tomorrow competition and more, it s all under one roof so you ll never miss a beat.

Click here to register your place now to join us at London Excel on 20 22 June

The shocking skills shortage in fire industry in numbers

Infographic The skills shortage in fire systems engineering is a problem long in the making. Whether you blame a lack of formal qualifications, a UK culture that many think undervalues engineering as a profession, or New Labour s obsession with boosting numbers of non-vocational university degrees, we re clearly reaching crisis point. If you doubt that fact, then the facts and numbers detailed in the infographic below put together by the FIA might help to convince you.

It s a problem the FIA is taking very seriously. What a qualification in fire detection and alarm systems might look like is set out by Martin Duggan in this article. THe FIA has also put together this video about the skills crisis.

Visit FIREX International for cutting-edge solutions, essential knowledge and the ability to grow your business by getting direct access to the whole fire safety industry. It is the perfect place to get your product in front of thousands of buyers, across a multitude of featured areas. From the brand new Drone Zone, the ARC Village, ASFP Passive Protection Zone, the Engineers of Tomorrow competition and more, it s all under one roof so you ll never miss a beat.

Click here to register your place now to join us at London Excel on 20 22 June

Good engineers are almost impossible to find

Good Engineers Are Almost Impossible To Find  : Recruitment Crisis Highlighted By FIA Survey

The shortage of engineers in the fire industry is as bad as ever, according to feedback gathered for the latest FIA Market Conditions Report. Several respondents to the FIA (Fire Industry Association) survey, which canvasses the views of businesses in the fire industry twice a year, reported ongoing problems with the recruitment of engineers. In line with other economic trends plunging sterling aside the effects of June s vote in favour of Brexit on the fire sector has apparently been less significant than may have been expected.

A decline in sales was reported, but this was only slight , according to FIA CEO Ian Moore, who commented on the findings during a recent webinar. The FIA, which works with the DIT (formerly UKTI) and BSi to promote and support its members exports overseas, also found that exporters were most likely to report that they had seen slightly more exports or that they had broadly stayed the same in the last six months. What happens after or even if the UK actually leaves the EU, obviously remains to be seen. Moore also noted the strong appetite for increasing training provision over the next six months. One figure from the fire industry who completed the survey said the recruitment problem was so bad that good engineers are still almost impossible to find on the open recruitment market. In our case, this seems to be particularly so in the M1 corridor. Noting that skilled labour is hard to find and comes with a premium, another respondent offered this prescription for remedying the problem: Companies should therefore look to the future and invest in apprenticeships and implement multi-skilled training programmes for existing engineers the results of which will improve customer experience while reducing project costs. Another of those polled noted a rise in wages, as well echoing the widespread sentiment about the skills shortage: Recruitment of engineers is becoming more difficult and salaries are higher so I take that as a sign of an upturn in the economy. Among other notable feedback from manufacturers and service providers was an observation about price pressure: Due to increased routes to market of fire vendors and increased number of installers quoting for fire jobs, price pressure is increasing across the board, this is reducing margins for distributers and installers alike and this creates an offset between profit requirements and the obvious need for training of installers.

Is the FIA aware of the pressure and are there plans to tackle this issue? Ian Moore agreed that the industry had a major role to play in combating the dearth of skilled talent. Speaking in the webinar he noted: We are not known as an industry by people leaving school or university that you d naturally go to, and we need to make sure that we raise our profile there is a problem right now, quite clearly, so we must change and invest . Right now, the training IS available, the apprenticeships ARE available, but we need to make sure that these are more taken up by everybody in the future, and this will solve this medium to long-term problem. In the webinar, Moore also discussed the merits of mandatory certification to improve the competence of engineers. Download the latest FIA Market Conditions Review and listen to the webinar in which FIA CEO Ian Moore discuss the results and their implications for the fire industry. Free download covering legal requirements for responsible persons under the FSO, courtesy of the IOSH, BIFM and USHA approved UK provider of health, safety and environmental information.

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