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FIA introduces online examinations for industry-leading qualifications

16 July 2020

AS OF Monday 1 June, the Fire Industry Association (FIA) will be providing online examinations to afford fire safety-focused professionals more choice in terms of how they wish to sit those examinations to attain their qualifications.

As always, the FIA is committed to listening to the views of its members and, indeed, the wider fire industry. Through offering online examinations, the organisation fervently hopes that this then enables fire sector professionals to complete the Association's industry-recognised qualifications from home.

From Monday 1 June, the FIA will provide online examinations where required. Full requirements to take the examinations will be published in due course. Those practitioners who have taken training online and are due an examination will be notified about available dates.

Further, those delegates who have had resit examinations necessarily cancelled since the start of April will be contacted about sitting those tests online.

At present, the online examinations are only for the FIA's dedicated range of qualifications.

On that note, the qualifications eligible for online examinations are the Fundamentals in Fire Detection and Alarms (Units 1 and 2), the Foundation course, the Environmental course, Fire Detection and Alarms Advanced Maintainer, Fire Detection and Alarms Advanced Commissioner and the Fire Detection and Alarms Advanced Installer course.

Feedback from the sector

Before launching the online examinations process to the wider industry, the FIA made sure to undertake robust testing and trialling. Pleasingly, the feedback from industry professionals has been very positive indeed.

Speaking from an employee's perspective, Ben Grimble, fire alarm and extinguisher engineer at M&G Fire Protection (Essex) Ltd, observed: “After waiting to re-book my examination with the FIA, I was lucky enough to have the chance to help the organisation trial its new online examination for the BS 5839-1 Fundamentals qualification. I would recommend using the FIA's new online course and examination process. This allows people to complete courses at their own pace and take the examinations without having to travel. By way of advice, I found that it's essential to read and revise the BS 5839-1 before sitting the examination.”

The employer's perspective

Steven Middleton is director at M&G Fire Protection (Essex) Ltd. Speaking from the employer's perspective, he commented: “We have used the FIA's training services for several years now. The training has always been to a very high standard. We have had members of staff pass the Level 3 Fundamentals conversion course as well as the Level 3 Fundamentals course and are extremely pleased that our engineer Ben Grimble is the first in the UK to pass the online examination.” 

Middleton continued: “At present, it's vital that every company and organisation changes its practices to suit the working regime enforced as a result of this pandemic by actively enabling engineers to remote learn and also pass an accredited examination thanks to the use of modern technology. This is great news and enables us as a business to continue to progress with our training programme.” 

In addition, Middleton told Fire Safety Matters: “With the support of the FIA, Ben has said that he found the online examination to be a great benefit as it eliminates the stress and tiredness caused by travelling. It's far less stressful taking the examinations in the comfort of your own home rather than a classroom-type scenario. We are delighted that Ben has achieved the same Level 3 accredited examination as his work colleagues who completed the classroom-based examination.” 

In conclusion, Middleton stated: “All of us here at M&G Fire Protection congratulate the FIA for this positive step forward and would highly recommend the course and the examination to other engineers whether they're working or, for the time being, on furlough.”