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WorldSkills UK national finals triumph for IFSM student member

12 December 2022

ALEXANDER WALLACE – a student member of the Institute of Fire Safety Managers (IFSM) and a Level 3 fire and security apprentice – has taken first place at the WorldSkills UK national finals’ first-ever competition for fire detection and alarm systems.

27 year-old Wallace (pictured above, left, with tutor Robin Hamill) received the trophy at an awards ceremony held in central London on Friday 25 November.

The IFSM had the pleasure of judging the regional finals in Lisburn, Northern Ireland earlier in the year, duly meeting Wallace for the first time and witnessing him and other contestants managing their time and working methodically through the unseen brief to build a fire alarm system.

A winner at the regional finals, Wallace then went on to the WorldSkills UK competition, itself often referred to as the ‘Skills Olympics’, in order to put his skills to the test against eight other finalists from across the UK.

Brilliant experience

Speaking about his win, Wallace – who’s employed by BPS and tutored and mentored by Robin Hamill at the South Eastern Regional College (SERC) – explained: “I managed to finish all of the tasks necessary for installing and commissioning an alarm system, but it was a very tough competition. I’m absolutely thrilled with the result. It has been a brilliant experience taking part in WorldSkills UK. The mentoring, additional training and meeting other competitors, as well as hearing different perspectives from people working in the industry, has been fantastic.”

Wallace added: “I want to thank Gavin Maskey, my supervisor at BPS, and the company as a whole for the great support I’ve received. Also, I must thank my lecturer Robin Hamill at the SERC for all of the mentoring and training, which has proved invaluable.”

Hamill, who’s chair of the IFSM’s Northern Ireland branch and lecturer in fire and security at the SERC, travelled to England to support Wallace during the competition and the awards evening. He said: “I am immensely proud of Alexander and all that he has achieved for himself. He put in additional hours of training and pushed himself to be the best. He’s most deserving of this WorldSkills UK title and I’m delighted that the first-ever win for this competition went to an apprentice from the SERC.”  

Further, Hamill commented: “The SERC has worked hard to develop the fire and security systems apprenticeship. Working in partnership with employers and leaders in the sector, together we ensure that apprentices are equipped with the skills, knowledge and experience for flourishing careers and are absolutely ready to meet the demands exacted by this growth industry.”

Supporting the SERC

The IFSM is delighted to support the SERC, which encourages its students to benefit from its free student membership grade. Earlier this year, the IFSM attended an open day at the SERC to raise awareness of career opportunities in the fire industry.

“The fire industry is a great career path for anyone to take,” outlined the organisation, “and it’s fabulous to see events such as the WorldSkills UK competition helping to recognise this.”

*Visit www.ifsm.org.uk/join/ for further details of free student membership