Fire engineering course directly addresses post-Grenfell skills shortage
27 September 2021
BIRMINGHAM CITY University is now accepting initial applications for its fire safety engineering degree apprenticeship programme launched in a determined bid to address national concerns around the skills shortage currently present across the disciplines of fire and building safety.
The growing demand for fire engineers has been directly highlighted by the ongoing Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry and, indeed, several investigations into the dreadful loss of life at the London tower block back in June 2017, all of which have identified a massive competency gap and an ideal opportunity for individuals right across the UK to acquire new skills in fire engineering.
Mike Leonard, visiting professor in manufacturing and construction at Birmingham City University, commented: “The ongoing Public Inquiry into the Grenfell Tower tragedy absolutely highlights the importance of fire safety in the built environment. The Fire Safety Act and the Building Safety Bill, which is currently progressing through Parliament, plus the introduction of a construction products regulator confirms the need for a very significant increase in skilled fire safety professionals. This new Birmingham City University apprenticeship will be strongly supported by employers, who can fund the training through the Apprenticeship Levy, and also by students who can ‘earn while they learn’ the skills needed for this life safety-critical profession.”
The part-time higher-level degree apprenticeship has been developed in partnership between the National Fire Chiefs Council and the UK’s commercial fire engineering sector and commences this month.
The degree course is ideally suited to those practitioners currently working in the Fire and Rescue Service and in fire engineering consultancies and who wish to take full advantage of their work experience by gaining a formal qualification with the support of their employer.
By bringing together expertise in teaching, practice and research, the course will help to create the next generation of British fire engineers by providing a new route for those sector employers seeking to recruit new talent and also for individuals looking to enter the profession.
Angus Sangster, senior fire safety engineering manager at International Fire Consultants Ltd, explained: “The tragic occurrence at Grenfell Tower brought the need for competent fire engineering professionals into sharp focus. As is the case with many true engineering disciplines, there has been a steady decline in the numbers of students pursuing a career in fire engineering. The new fire safety engineering apprenticeship represents a fresh approach designed to address the obvious skills gap. It’s rooted in workplace experience and leads to a full Batchelor of Engineering degree.”
The fire engineering course is part of a new suite of apprenticeships that was initially announced by Birmingham City University to coincide with National Apprenticeship Week.
*The closing date for the initial student intake is Friday 15 October. Potential delegates /employers should contact Chris Conway at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information