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IFE and Fire Service College focus attentions on National Apprenticeship Week

06 February 2023

THE INSTITUTION of Fire Engineers (IFE) has joined forces with leading training facility the Fire Service College in support of National Apprenticeship Week 2023 (which runs from Monday 6 until Sunday 12 February) in a determined bid to boost the number of new entrants to the profession.

Emboldened by a stated desire to drive recruitment and encourage young talent into the fire sector, the duo of key industry bodies will be actively demonstrating the varied and diverse career opportunities to be derived from apprenticeships, with the theme for this edition of National Apprenticeships Week being ‘Skills for Life’.

Following the introduction of the Fire Safety (England) Regulations on Monday 23 January, fire engineers are now more in demand than ever before and pivotal across all aspects of fire safety within the built environment.

Legislation changes have increased the obligations placed upon ‘Responsible Persons’ and, as a result, public expectations are rising. There’s now a substantial need for a greater cohort of competent and qualified professionals within the fire sector, which in turn demands that current professionals upskill in order to meet the new requirements outlined for their roles.

As the global professional membership body for fire engineers, the IFE is wholly dedicated to supporting its members through legislative change and encouraging new talent to join the industry. Evidencing this truism, the IFE recently made its student membership grade a free-of-charge proposition, thereby providing the new talent pool with access to key resources and online Continuing Professional Development. The latter allows individuals in the sector to keep pace with regulation changes and, in parallel, remain abreast of new ways of working in addition to Best Practice.

Now in the initial stages of developing an Early Careers Networking Group, the IFE is tapping into its global community in a bid to encourage individuals to join the fire sector’s ranks. This will provide budding fire engineers at the Fire Service College with a platform to share knowledge, raise issues and network.

Apprenticeship pathway

As part of the apprenticeship pathway, every apprentice must successfully undertake an independent endpoint assessment to confirm they’ve achieved occupational competence and capability. The IFE recognises the Fire Service College’s endpoint assessment as a route to membership. Working cohesively will enable students to apply for Technician grade membership, in turn earning the post-nominals TIFireE.

Commenting on the joint venture, Steve Hamm (CEO of the IFE) stated: “It’s such an exciting time for people to be joining the industry. Through working with the Fire Service College, we are able to showcase clear pathways into the fire sector and how it offers a range of diverse opportunities. From mapping wildfires in the US through to developing hydrogen energy projects in Japan, not all roles lead to becoming a firefighter. Indeed, fire engineers remain crucial in our mission to secure a sustainable and fire-safe future.”

Hamm continued: “At the IFE, it’s our responsibility to offer inspiration, support and professional development to the next generation of fire engineering talent. Free membership for apprentices and developing platforms for young talent means that we’re purposefully showcasing our dedication to the next generation of fire engineers.”

Academic modules

With academia remaining pivotal to an evolving fire safety sector, the Fire Service College is also developing its academic modules in order to cover the new legislative framework. This will ensure that recruits are competent and adaptive to the new legislation-driven standards.

Remaining one of the foremost fire training facilities in the world, the Fire Service College has plans in place to ensure learning experiences remain second to none. Clair Mowbray (learning delivery and transformation director at the Fire Service College) commented: “Our apprenticeship programme has been developed by sector experts, taking on board feedback from previous apprentices. All those who take part in an apprenticeship programme with ourselves have access to world-class training facilities and experienced and highly qualified instructors. Our apprenticeships are a fantastic route into becoming a fire and rescue professional.”

Mowbray concluded: “Apprenticeships also enable those from a diverse range of backgrounds and perspectives to access a career in the Fire and Rescue Service, with different career paths available, among them the role of a firefighter, community roles and careers focused on fire safety.”

*For further information on apprenticeships at the Fire Service College visit https://apprentices.fireservicecollege.ac.uk/ or telephone 01608 812984

**Additional detail on membership opportunities at the IFE are available online at https://www.ife.org.uk/Membership-and-Registration

***All you need to know about National Apprenticeship Week 2023 is available to view online at www.nationalapprenticeshipweek.co.uk