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Managing Editor, IFSEC Insider

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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.
July 31, 2023

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Fire & Security engineers

Podcast series: The future of fire and security engineers

Welcome to The Future of Fire and Security Engineers mini-series, brought to you by the IFSEC Insider Podcast. Across three short episodes, we bring you insight on what industry experts see ahead for the sector – one that is dogged by challenges ranging from a shortage of professionals, an ever-expanding skills gap and concerns over competency levels. 

Yet there are those that remain extremely positive about the future, in part because of the opportunities that they know are abound for the next generation of installers, technicians, engineers and systems integrators. Apprenticeship numbers are growing, as investment from the likes of Skills for Security, Banham Academy and other training providers and colleges pays dividends.

That’s not to mention the work industry itself has put in to raising standards. In light of findings from a Government Review of all apprenticeships across England, a new Fire, Emergency and Security Systems (FESS) standard was developed in 2017 at a national level, with the first cohort of apprentices passing two years later. Since then, it has been continuously improved and has now been extended to cover those already in the industry who need to maintain and prove their competency as technology and skills evolve, with the Experienced Worker Assessment.

Hearing from training providers and those who have watched apprentices on this journey, there is a clear belief that competency levels and standards have risen significantly as a result.

Meanwhile, the opportunities on offer to new entrants – be they school leavers just entering the world of work, or those looking for a career change later in life – are growing. Some believe this is happening at an almost exponential rate. Fire and security systems are now so interlinked with other building management and IoT devices that professionals looking to get ahead can now offer so much more than the traditional intruder or smoke alarm installation.

The next generation of engineers are likely to have a multi-faceted skillset – in a space where customers are demanding integrated, networked and technologically-advanced systems. Fire and security is, and will be, a major part of this digital transformation.

But don’t listen to me, listen to those who know this sector inside-out. We’ve got three fantastic episodes below for you – each of which offers different insight and perspective on the present challenges, and future opportunities. Happy listening!


The future of fire & security engineers: 1 ‘Super Engineers’

Join us for episode one of this exclusive mini-series, brought to you by the IFSEC Insider podcast team.

Across the series, we ask what the future looks like for the fire and security engineering sector. The well publicised skills gap, alongside ever-advancing technology and questions over competency are all discussed.

In this episode, we talk to David Scott and Simon Banks from Skills for Security about their vision for the next generation of fire and security installers, engineers and technicians. David and Simon expand on what they describe as the potential for ‘super engineers’ – expert and highly competent professionals working in a multi-disciplined environment.


The future of fire & security engineers: 2 The ‘skills gap’ and embracing diversity

In this episode, we talk to Kevin Faulkner from Banham Academy, a fire and security apprenticeship provider based in South London, but that has also recently opened up a training centre in Derby.

Having been in the sector for over 20 years, Kevin has significant experience and expertise in the development of apprenticeship standards and the reasons behind the skills gap. He also covers why diversity and inclusivity must be embraced, and the development of the FESS apprenticeship and experienced worker assessment standards.


The future of fire & security engineers: 3 Raising competency with the FESS standard

In episode three, we hear from Andy Reakes, Tom Brookes and Trevor Jenks. The trio spoke at FIREX in May 2023, presenting on how the industry is raising competency standards in fire and security – doing this through the development of the FESS apprenticeship and experienced worker assessment standards.

Andy Reakes of the Joint Industry Board and Electrotechnical Certification Scheme goes into more detail about all of this – covering everything from certifying individual competence, new standards frameworks, and career paths for engineers and technicians.

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