As the UK’s largest trusted provider of Fire and Rescue qualifications, with unrivalled experience of the sector, @SFJAwards are committed to developing fit-for-purpose qualifications and products to both meet the needs of the sector and help Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) to develop the ultimate workforce, for better skills, better flexibility, and better jobs.
Equipping today’s FRS staff with qualifications which are developed to national standards is not only incredibly vital to ensuring the safety, fire protection and prevention of all, it provides assurance to learners that they have the latest knowledge and best practice to demonstrate their capability and further the improvement of fire protection and prevention outcomes.
Under the UK fire safety legislation, anyone who is an employer, or has control over a workplace, has a responsibility to help prevent fires and reduce risk to those in their ‘simple’ premises. Yet, every year, across the UK, over a thousand lives are lost, and many more people are seriously injured as a result of fires in these non-domestic premises. Besides the human risk, the costs incurred to businesses due to fire, whether through property damage, fines, compensation, or insurance premiums are often irretrievable. When providing guidance on fire safety, with the consequences of getting it wrong so serious, it is imperative that the person delivering it has the competence to get it right.
Developed collaboratively with the Fire Service College (FSC), the new SFJ Awards Level 3 Introductory Certificate in Fire Safety (Fire Auditors) is a foundation course based on existing units taken from the SFJ Awards Level 3 Certificate in Fire Safety (Fire Auditors).
Candace Miller, Managing Director, SFJ Awards said:
“We were very pleased to work alongside our partners at the FSC, taking forward our shared commitment to delivering the highest quality fire and rescue skills and training; building a flexible workforce and further improving the nation’s fire protection, prevention and response outcomes.”
Steve Skarratt, Head of Prevention and Protection Training, FSC said:
“As an approved deliverer of this qualification, the FSC is pleased to have been working with SFJ Awards on this development of an additional Fire Safety qualification. We found the whole process to be efficient and well managed, with plenty of communication keeping us informed of the progress as they navigated the robust OFQUAL requirements needed to produce any new qualification. We are excited that it is now available to deliver to the sector.”
The qualification has been designed to not only meet the changing requirements of Local Authority Fire Services throughout England and Wales, it is intended to support the training of a range of individuals who work, or intend to work in fire safety, with the knowledge and skills to carry out fire audits for simple premises.
Steve continues: “Inspections of our FRS by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and FRS highlighted that FS departments are overstretched, so it would be helpful to increase the capability. Recognising that lower level audits, whilst necessary, reduce capacity to deal with higher risk premises, it makes sense to enable selected operational staff to undertake them – in order to do this, some development was required.”
Aimed at those who are new to fire safety, as well as existing FRS staff, the qualification allows certification for individuals who do not need to complete the full Level 3 Certificate in Fire Safety (Fire Auditors), while providing learners with formal recognition of their competence to work as a Regulatory Fire Safety Auditor for simple premises. This can include operational crew managers and firefighters who are required to identify and report on significant fire safety issues they see as a result of community safety visits, or when attending incidents, offering both more resilience for FRS and motivation for learners in achieving a qualification.
Steve adds: “Borne out of a requirement from the FRS for a foundation development programme that could be delivered to non-Fire Safety Officers so that they could undertake audits of simple premises, SFJ Awards managed the process of formalising the request and turning it into a regulated qualification.
“This new qualification now means that operational staff can gain a robust qualification that fits their role, without having to undertake the larger qualification, saving them time and cost, whilst still providing a progression pathway if required.”
The qualification creates a number of opportunities for progression into employment in fire safety and existing fire safety qualifications including:
- SFJ Awards Level 3 Certificate in Fire Safety (Fire Auditors)
- SFJ Awards Level 4 Certificate in Fire Safety (Fire Auditors)
- SFJ Awards Level 4 Diploma in Fire Safety (Fire Inspectors)
Plus, the overlap in units means that learners can use credits already achieved from the SFJ Awards Level 3 Introductory Certificate in Fire Safety (Fire Auditors) against the above qualifications, through Recognition of Prior Learning.
Candace concludes: “Through developing this additional fire safety qualification, we are not only supporting the UK’s Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order and the capabilities of our incredible FRS across the nation, but also providing a new progression pathway for operational staff.
“Our comprehensive suite of SFJ Awards fire and rescue qualifications offers centres more flexibility in the provision they deliver, and allows centres to develop programmes of learning which are relevant to individual learners’ requirements, providing them with the knowledge and skills they need to further their career, no matter what stage they are at, or pathway they choose.”