Manufacturers' viewpoint - October 2017
29 August 2017
Fire Industry Association managing director Ian Moore provides us details on a new campaign he leading to try and encourage school leavers to opt for an evicting career in the fire sector.
THE FIRE industry is not a sexy business and that’s a quote I often use, as the fact is it’s not! People tend to find it by accident. I, for one didn’t think I’d leave the military and then go into the fire safety sector. I can pretty much guarantee if you ask anyone they will tell you they didn’t aspire to be in the fire safety sector when they were in school or college.
The Fire Industry Association (FIA) is taking an active stance on this and we will be creating a campaign, which looks at school leavers and try to help educate them on what the fire industry is about. We will also talk to people in the sector to urge them to offer work placements to these leavers. We want to give young people a taste of what is possible and how fire safety touches every workplace and walk of life.
If you ask these students to talk about the fire industry they will instantly talk about firefighters as it’s a sexy job. However, this only scratches the surface and the fire sector offers a raft of different opportunities. When I left the military and joined Chubb, I couldn’t have dreamed that over the following 20 years it would take me all over the world. I’ve been too offshore oil rigs, nuclear power stations, ships, high rise buildings all around the world and road tunnels that are closed in the middle of the night for fire tests. I’ve been granted access to unbelievable places that people would never normally get into. This is a regular occurrence when you are talking to clients to start design systems or having conferences in various glamourous facilities.
My career has taken me to places as far away as the North slopes of Alaska and a school leaver would never know that. Part of the campaign will be to promote that fact and say that it’s a sector that will see you visit exciting places and could allow you to travel the world. We are trying to raise awareness about what entry into the sector can give people.
It’s not just about apprenticeships either, but also about work placements at different levels and mature workers considering a career change. We want to make everybody aware, starting with school leavers, about what opportunities the industry can offer them.
This campaign will begin with promotional videos that are tailored towards different areas of fire safety. We will also produce promotional documents and some speeches in schools, which will effectively be a ‘show and tell’ about the exciting career path people can have by joining the sector. We may also arrange some trips to places like Gatwick Airport so they can see that there is far more to fire safety than a fireman extinguishing a blaze. That only equates to 1% of what an airport is about when you are discussing fire safety across the facility.
This will be nationwide campaign and we are going to encourage our members to approach local schools and give these presentations and ideally offer placement opportunities. It would not specific to their business it would be about the wider sector from extinguishing, detection, alarms to engineering.
The main issue is that people don’t understand or know much about the wider fire sector and when they think of fire they think of firefighters. I’ll be very honest, that’s no different from the government’s perspective. In government, you see ex-firemen appointed to run any project or department that’s related to fire. The government doesn’t realize that the fire industry dwarfs the fire and rescue service in monetary turnover. Expenditure on fire engines is minuscule when you compare it to expenditure on fire detection systems.
We are working on this project now and I’d urge people to keep an eye on the FIA website (www.fia.uk.com) to stay updated in our progress. The promotional videos will be live on our website very soon and we hope to have further information on the project later this year.
Ian Moore is managing director of the Fire Industry Association. For more information, visit www.fia.uk.com