Managing Editor, IFSEC Insider

Author Bio ▼

James Moore is the Managing Editor of IFSEC Insider, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry. James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Insider, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
April 8, 2021


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A hybrid future for training in security and fire?

With online and digital initiatives having filled much of the CPD and training requirements over the past 12 months, will there be a swift and permanent return to the dominance of in-person training as we begin to exit lockdowns? Evidence may suggest not, with a hybrid training approach set to be a more permanent fixture for security and fire professionals moving forwards.

There are, of course, several benefits to in-person training. Much like attendance at trade exhibitions, there is no better opportunity to get ‘hands on’ with products and speak to those who understand their inner workings as well as Pep Guardiola knows how to win football matches. Better than Pep – I’m sure the technical experts would argue.

As well as this, there’s the collective learning process that is such a feature of in-person training sessions, as attendees reveal specific challenges and solutions they’ve come across that others may never have considered. As Apollo Fire Detectors highlights: “You can’t beat a classroom discussion… plus we get to learn so much from the engineers about their experiences of our products.” And, as employees begin to return to the workplace following the release of lockdowns – for some regions, at least – vendors and providers will soon be once again opening their doors to security and fire professionals.

Access control solution provider, Paxton, for instance has already resumed face-to-face workshops at its technology centre in Brighton. The company highlights that several COVID-secure measures have been implemented to ensure installers can get the “hands-on experience with the equipment and see the latest updates to Net2 and Paxton10”, including individual kits, limited attendance and screen partitions.

Tavcom Training, too, is looking forward to welcoming delegates back to its training centres in Hampshire and North-Yorkshire, with each course set to be restricted to five learners. The business notes the “demand for technical security professionals has never been greater”, and face-to-face training is a key aspect of ensuring attendees are up-to-date with the latest equipment, legislation and technology.

However, as the past 12 months has demonstrated, technology now allows for digital solutions to provide high-quality sessions as well – all from the comfort of your own home or office. Security and fire vendors and training providers have developed online initiatives throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and after speaking to several of them, these are clearly not being viewed as simply temporary solutions.

Both Paxton and Tavcom have reiterated their intentions to continue offering live virtual training sessions, with engineers and installers having the choice to participate via their preferred means. Particularly for those who continue to take precautions or are based in remote locations (or even other countries), this will come as some relief.

IFSEC & FIREX Training

Following the success of last year’s IFSEC Training courses, we have partnered up with Skills for Security once more and released another two courses for installers, maintainers, surveyors and project managers. Training will be delivered online through a mixture of pre-recorded content, course notes, activities, and assessments that you can complete in your own time.

‘Survey and Design of Intruder Alarm Systems’ and ‘Cyber Security – A Good Practice Guide for Fire & Security Professionals’, are both CPD accredited courses that take between 4-6 hours to complete and are fully accessible 24/7 via Skills for Security. For the completion of these courses, you will receive four Security Institute CPD points.

Each course is £40+VAT with a 20% discount for all British Security Industry Association (BSIA) members, Skills for Security partners and IFSEC Global partners. Please enter the code: ‘IFSEC20’ into the discount code box before 15th May 2021 to receive the discount.

Book your place today!

Other vendors are not quite ready to reopen their doors quite yet. Perhaps this would have been a more difficult choice 10, or even five, years ago. Yet there is now a confidence in online sessions that enables providers to take what they perceive to be the most sensible route forward. This is particularly the case in areas where the vaccine rollout has not been quite as quick as those in the UK and US. Victoria Karlsson, Academy and Program Manager at Zenitel (find out more about Zenitel in our recent interview), says the company will “continue to focus on developing our online training portfolio”, as the business believes that “online training sessions offer a flexible and cost effective way of spreading knowledge about Zenitel products and solutions”.

Clearly, face-to-face training will resume for the majority. All of those we spoke to highlighted their eagerness for engineers, installers, end-users and all their other customers to return to classrooms and engage with products and solutions in a physical format.

For the younger generation, this will be vitally important. David Scott, Managing Director of Skills for Security which provides fire and security apprenticeship training in the UK, shares his view on the subject: “We intend to move back to face-to-face delivery next month for all of our learners due to complete their apprenticeship this year. The goal is for us to bring them in for the practical training they have missed over the last year to give them the best chance of passing their End Point Assessment. We have about 60 apprentices due to complete this academic year, so the pressure is on to make sure these learners are ready after what has been an extremely disruptive year.

“Following this, we intend to return to normality for our mainstream learners in July once the restrictions on travel have eased. But this will be based on the UK Government’s advice at the time. For me, remote learning has worked really well, and we have learned a lot from the process. We will continue to deliver remotely long after COVID has gone, but it will be part of a hybrid model where learners are doing a mixture of face to face and remote learning.”

It is this hybrid model which the sector should expect to continue with, gauging the responses we received on the subject. Online training can now form a significant part of a Continual Professional Development (CPD) schedule, for everyone from security guards and managers, through to systems integrators and installers. Theoretical and introductory aspects of topic areas and products can be absorbed remotely in a more relaxed time structure, while in-person training can then provide the remaining, but necessary, level of detail.

Pep Guardiola’s teams have been well-known to spend hours looking at the tactics boards and watching video analysis, but the players still have to step out onto the training pitch and do it for themselves to ensure the instructions sink in. And, if it works for Pep…

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