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The Trailblazers

by Brian Sims
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI: Editor of Risk UK

Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI: Editor of Risk UK

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has just approved the Trailblazer Apprenticeship Standard for the security and fire business sectors as well as the Emergency Systems world. This major development arises alongside the Government’s own announcements regarding radical changes designed to boost apprenticeships right across the UK.

For its part, the Trailblazer Apprenticeship Standard sets out the core competencies for apprentices aspiring to become a security, fire or Emergency Systems-focused technician. It’s expected to take 36 months to complete. At that juncture, candidates will be eligible to apply for membership of the Institute of Engineering and Technology at EngTech level.

The next step forward is the creation of an Assessment Plan in support of the new Trailblazer Apprenticeship Standard.

Skills minister Nick Boles commented: “Businesses are better placed than anyone to train the next generation of workers and will help us deliver three million high quality apprenticeships by 2020. In designing apprenticeships, organisations like the Fire and Security Association (FSA) and their group of employers are ensuring that talented young people develop the skills needed to ascend the career ladder and help drive businesses forward.”

Pat Allen (director of the Abel Alarm Company and lead employer on the Fire, Emergency and Security Systems Trailblazer Group) responded: “This structured apprenticeship programme has been developed by employers and key industry bodies alike to reflect the skills and competencies today’s businesses require of their apprentices. This is the first apprenticeship that caters for the needs of both fire and security systems installation companies as it allows candidates to specialise depending on the needs of their employer’s business.”

Steve Martin, head of the FSA, has also welcomed the approval of the Trailblazer Apprenticeship Standard. “Our industry now has a means of recruiting high calibre talent to fill its vacancies and help succession plan for the future,” enthused Martin. “This is something we’ve needed for a long time.”

In parallel, Apprentices for Fire & Security encompasses the 100 in 100 apprenticeship drive, the Engineers of Tomorrow competition and the Government’s Trailblazer initiative. In the four years since its inception, the scheme has placed over 3,000 16 to 24-year olds into careers within the security sector ranging from engineering and IT through to product design, marketing and sales. Nothing short of a superb achievement.

Referencing UK plc-based businesses in general, the amount of money they’ve invested in training has fallen consistently over the last two decades. The sad outcome is that UK productivity presently lags some way behind other major Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member countries.

To buck that trend, David Cameron’s Conservative Government is now asking employers for their views on the introduction of a special levy proposed for introduction in 2017 and designed to increase investment in both training and apprenticeships.

Be they systems installers or security guarding companies, succession planning is everything. Let’s ensure the quality of tomorrow’s employee cohort by backing apprentices today.

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