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September 1, 2020

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BAFE establishes FireQual and announces its Qualifications Manager

The Fire Industry Association (FIA) has announced that BAFE will be acquiring the operation of the FIA AO, following extensive discussions between the two organisations. Since the news first broke, BAFE has released further details on the establishment of FireQual, having also announced its newly appointed Qualifications Manager.

FIA-BAFE-Logos-20BAFE, the independent register of Third Party Certificated fire safety service providers, will be establishing FireQual Ltd as an OFQUAL-approved Awarding Body to run the existing Fire Detection and Alarm qualification examinations. It will also develop new qualifications across the fire sector, supporting the call for greater competence and availability of verification of skills for those engaged in fire safety across the UK.

BAFE FireQual will be using qualifications industry experts to operate the business and bring experienced industry and awarding body expertise onto the FireQual Board.

Since the news was first released, BAFE has provided further updates on FireQual.

FireQual will operate as a separate wholly owned subsidiary of BAFE, with its own Board of Directors, and will be led by a newly appointed Qualifications Manager, Nic Preston, who has a wide experience at a senior level in the qualifications sector. Nic has over 14 years’ experience in the training and development sector, with his most recent role developing and implementing growth strategies as Chief Executive of SFEDI Awards.

The FireQual Board currently is made up of Chairman Lewis Ramsay – former Deputy Chief Fire Officer of Scottish Fire & Rescue, Pauline Traetto – previous Executive Director of BRE Academy, Douglas Barnett – Chairman of BAFE and Stephen Adams – BAFE Chief Executive.

For full clarity FireQual, will only offer exams and qualifications – neither BAFE nor FireQual will be delivering any training. FireQual will be working with licensed training organisations (including the FIA) who will offer the approved syllabuses to their learners. BAFE considers this separation from training and exams/invigilation, as currently operated at BAFE with the BS 5306 fire extinguisher exam, is important to deliver independent quality assurance of this process.

NicPreston-FireQualBAFE-20

Nic Preston, FireQual Qualifications Manager

Nic said: “Introducing a range of high quality nationally recognised qualifications for the betterment of fire protection services and staff within the fire safety industry will be a rewarding task. FireQual has huge potential to make the industry safer and demonstrably more competent and I look forward to the challenge this offers. Although FireQual is a new venture, it builds on the vast array of knowledge and expertise within the sector both within BAFE and through our valued external partners who continue to support this new endeavour as we move forward. I welcome the opportunity to work with a range of excellent industry partners, training organisations and their candidates to build new relationships and opportunities as we move forward.”

Following this announcement, the BAFE Fire Safety Register has unveiled that Chris Auger, currently the BAFE Head of Schemes, has been promoted to Director of Schemes, with responsibility for the organisation and development of existing and new schemes, together with our quality assurance and complaints management. He will have the vital day to day support role with BAFE licensed Certification Bodies.

Stephen Adams, Chief Executive – BAFE, commented: “We believe that this will be a significant development for the UK fire protection industry and indeed BAFE’s role as the independent competency body. The FIA has made a major contribution to introducing qualifications for FD&A technicians with the development of the FIA AO and we look forward to building on this considerable achievement for the benefit of the wider fire industry.

“BAFE already invigilates the exams for a large number of fire extinguisher technicians and our aim is to work with trade associations and other trainers to develop a comprehensive range of OFQUAL approved qualification exams across the whole fire sector.”

“There are natural synergies that will occur along with the BAFE ethos of Third Party Certification for companies delivered through licensed [UKAS Accredited] Certification Bodies. We believe that the introduction of accredited qualifications will only enhance the BAFE company schemes. These are not to be thought of as one or the other however, BAFE will continue to monitor company assurance of specific service competency which holds important value. FireQual will develop qualifications for individual expertise for specific services, whether the candidate works for a BAFE Registered Company or not.”

What does this mean for those undertaking the qualifications?

Existing FIA FD&A qualifications will be transferred to BAFE and the FIA will continue to include these in their successful range of training courses. FireQual will be offeri

BAFE-FireQual-20

ng these essential qualifications to all industry trainers who meet the stringent training centre requirements.

All of the existing assets of FIA AO, including the current extensive question banks, are included in the sale. FIA AO will continue to operate the exams until such time as BAFE FireQual is in a position to be fully operational. All delegates [including those that are in mid-process] can be fully assured that the priority for the FIA and BAFE is the seamless handover of the examination regime.

FireQual will take the opportunity to contact a wide range of organisations that currently deliver training across all aspects of fire safety to consider the application of the new range of qualifications that we will be reviewing. FireQual welcomes any approaches to consider how this should develop and looks forward to collaborating with the industry to progress the future of individual qualifications for the fire safety industry.

It is anticipated that the transfer will be completed by the end of October 2020.

Ian Moore, Chief Executive of the Fire Industry Association, says: “The FIA has allocated considerable resource to bring the first OFQUAL-approved FD&A qualifications to the industry. We are delighted to be passing this on to BAFE in its independent competency role.

“It was the FIA that originally formed BAFE as the registration body for third party certified fire engineering specialist companies across the UK. As it developed, the FIA supported BAFE to become the fully independent registration body. We now feel that the FIA AO has reached that same level of development and for the same reasons of true independence [from the FIA Training Centre], is undertaking the transfer of the FIA AO to BAFE.”

Find out more information on FireQual.

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