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FESS unveils new occupational qualification structure in bid to raise skill levels

17 August 2020

THE FIRE, Emergency and Security Systems (FESS) industry has launched a new occupational qualification structure leading to Electrotechnical Certification Scheme (ECS) card recognition in order to continue promoting high standards and skills across the sector.

The Fire Industry Association (FIA) has played a key role in this development alongside other prominent Trade Associations and employer representatives from the British Security Industry Association, the FESS Employer Group and the Fire & Security Association through to SELECT, the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board and the Joint Industry Board.

The structure sets the standard for new entrants to the market at Level 3, which is something that the FIA has been advocating for many years. It also places great importance and emphasis on training, experience and qualifications when it comes to the current workforce.

There are now four sector disciplines recognised by the ECS in the FESS industry which include fire, fire and emergency lighting, security (encompassing access control, intruder alarm and CCTV systems) and fire and security.

Will Lloyd, technical manager at the FIA, commented: “Having been part of the industry Working Group that created the new FESS industry qualification structure, it was necessary to find a way in which to recognise people within the current workforce to ensure unnecessary barriers were not put in place. With the introduction of the new FESS experienced worker assessment and learner journey, there’s now a clear pathway for people who’ve been in the fire industry a long time to obtain a FESS ECS Gold card.”

Lloyd continued: “These FESS ECS occupations replace the existing Fire Detection and Alarm Systems and Emergency and Security Systems cards. From 1 January next year, the FESS requirements will become compulsory for all new (initial) card applications, meaning that all new applicants will be required to hold a pathway-specific FESS assessment for the ECS occupation for which they’re applying. From 1 July 2021, all card renewals will also need to meet the FESS requirements and hold a pathway-specific FESS assessment.”