The Welsh Government has given final approval for a new apprenticeship framework targeting the fire and security industry.
Dubbed the Providing Electronic Fire and Security Systems apprenticeship framework, it sets out the standards and criteria apprentices must meet to complete the apprenticeship programme and receive their apprenticeship certificate for level three fire and security systems.
Both the Fire and Security Association (FSA) and the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB) welcomed the approval from the Welsh Government, noting that it completes the mission of the fire, emergency and security systems (FESS) sector to make a specialist apprenticeship available to employers and learners in every part of the UK.
Tom Brookes, FSA Chair, noted, “The new apprenticeship in Providing Electronic Fire and Security Systems marks an important step forward for FESS standards in Wales. As such, it represents a fantastic achievement for the close and effective partnership on competence and skills now developing between Welsh Government and industry employers. We look forward to seeing this partnership continue to grow and strengthen further over time.”
Trevor Jenks, SSAIB National Training Manager, added, “SSAIB are delighted to have been involved in the development of the new Welsh Apprenticeship Pathway in Providing Electronic Fire and Security Systems, which both aligns to the UK-wide FESS Technician Standard and respects Wales’s specific training identity and norms. The SSAIB continues to take a leading role in setting and raising of the technical standards as the whole FESS sector upskills on its route to a fully competent workforce, validated by an individual’s competency card.”
Development of this apprenticeship, which was jointly funded by FSA and SSAIB, has come as a direct response to employer demand in Wales. Employers were also closely involved in the steering group which oversaw the development process.
Welsh apprentices and employers will benefit from the curriculum aligned with UK-wide technical and occupational competence standards. The apprenticeship features two qualifications which have now been designated by Qualifications Wales: the EAL Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Providing Electronic Fire and Security Systems, and the EAL Level 3 Knowledge Diploma in Providing Electronic Fire and Security Systems. On completion, individuals will achieve UK FESS Technician status and entitlement to apply for a gold card under the Electrotechnical Certification Scheme (ECS).
Significantly, the establishment of this new benchmark also provides a route for the existing workforce in Wales to upskill from Operative to gold card Technician level when the FESS Experience Worker Assessment route becomes widely available later this year across the whole UK.
Vaughan Gething, Wales’ Economy Minister, concluded, “The Welsh Government is committed to investing in quality apprenticeships that support economic growth. This new apprenticeship will raise standards across the fire, emergency and security systems industry and make a significant contribution to the competence and skills of the workforce in Wales. The fact the apprenticeship was jointly developed across the sector is testament to the value and strength of collaborative working in meeting industry needs.”