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August 10, 2021


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Zitko Talent

Zitko Talent – An overview for prospective fire & security trainee engineers and employers

In November 2020, Zitko – a recruitment consultancy firm specialising in the security and fire sector – launched its Zitko Talent initiative. Designed to address the “growing shortage of engineers trained for design, engineering, commissioning and support” in fire and security, the alliance of employees, vendors, educators and industry bodies aims to deliver an intense 12-month training and work experience programme.

Here, we provide a useful summary of Zitko Talent, including everything that prospective trainees and employers need to know and where to find out further information.

Why was the scheme launched?

Zitko Talent was launched in response to the growing shortage of skilled engineers able to install, commission and support today’s sophisticated Fire & Security systems.

It provides employers with a reliable, cost effective ‘train and deploy’ solution, with which to cross-train engineers from other sectors and develop college leavers.

The programme’s goal is to train and entry level engineers per year, including people from currently underrepresented groups

What’s Zitko Talent all about?

Talent is an alliance of employers, manufacturers, educators and industry bodies working to deliver an intensive 12-month training and work experience programme.

The focus is on helping trainees to establish long-term careers with their host employers. The 300+ hours of training are tailored to their needs and to their work environment.

On completing their programme, trainees will have a level 3 industry apprentice qualification and basic certifications in at least six of the systems their employer supports.

Additionally, they will already have had a year to settle into their team and the industry, ready for the future.

How does Zitko Talent work?

Zitko Talent is an end-to-end ‘train and deploy’ solution. It is designed to remove the barriers employers typically cite when attempting to train new entrants – time, resources and cost.

The programme leverages Zitko’s expertise to attract and select candidates. As part of the process, specialist psychometric testing, designed to identify outstanding technical and learning potential, is used.

Host employers then select and employ trainees from the pool and provide front-line work experience, generally within their field engineering teams.

Manufacturers and educators in the alliance present around 300 hours of technical education and certified product training, tailored to trainee/employer needs.

The Zitko Talent team administers the entire programme on behalf of employers, while supporting/mentoring trainees.

What is the level 3 fire and security qualification?

The primary qualification for Talent trainees is the Level 3 fire and security apprenticeship, but it is also possible to pursue a full, accelerated apprenticeship.

To do so, trainees begin on the normal 3-year Fire & Security apprenticeship, but can then move to the accelerated version, provided they demonstrate the necessary ability.

This is ascertained by independent assessors, who will review coursework and observe the trainee at work.

The accelerated apprenticeship scheme lasts for 13 months. It attracts government funding which significantly offsets the Talent programme costs*.

Key points for trainees

The programme is free for trainees. Your employer will pay you a starting salary of between £18,000 and £25,000, depending on your experience.

Talent is designed for engineers wishing to transition from other sectors, such as for ex-Forces personnel, as well as college leavers and graduates, and career changers.

“Talent is an alliance of employers, manufacturers, educators and industry bodies working to deliver an intensive 12-month training and work experience programme.

“The focus is on helping trainees to establish long-term careers with their host employers. The 300+ hours of training are tailored to their needs and to their work environment.”

Your training will be in field engineering – though other training options, such as sales and project management, are in development and will be added soon. The job involves physical engineering (equipment installation and cabling) and digital work (networking, system configuration, testing).

The fire and security industry offers terrific variety, technical challenges and opportunity. With Talent, Zitko believes trainees will have the perfect launchpad for a secure long-term career, worldwide.

Key points for employers

Zitko Talent provides a complete package for attracting, selecting and training high calibre trainees, from other engineering sectors or straight from college.

The standard programme fee is £10,000 per trainee, although there are government grants available to subsidise training and employment costs.

Your trainee(s) will be trained specifically to work with your systems and customers. A choice of training schemes covers Fire, Security, or Fire and Security.

Salaries are standardised to avoid employer competition and range from £18,000 – 25,000 depending on experience. Thanks to their high calibre, trainees quickly become productive.

Zitko Talent provides a free replacement, should your trainee leave the programme during the 12-month period.

The programme so far

Zitko Talent launched in Autumn 2020 and the firm highlights it has been steadily gathering pace ever since, with new trainees deploying all the time.

Founding employers include Northland Controls, Reliance High-Tech and Pafi, all of whom have built Talent into their resourcing strategies. And the list of Talent employers continues to grow.

Manufacturers and distributors have also supported the initiative, with founding partners including Lenel, Mayflex, Texecom, CDVi and Suprema.

As for formal education, providers include industry leading apprenticeship training providers, Skills For Security, and the Fire Industry Association.

Trainees so far include college leavers, ex-Forces personnel and engineers from fields as diverse as Audio Visual and Oil & Gas. The scheme is also making positive steps towards our goal of attracting a wide and diverse talent pool to the industry.

Find out more about Zitko Talent.


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