It is three years since the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA) delivered its ‘Vision for the Future’ which led on to the successful development of a competency based qualification for fire sprinkler installers.
The IQ Level 2 Certificate in Fire Sprinkler Installation (QCF) is a qualification aimed at individuals employed in the fire sprinkler industry and is intended for people employed in installing fire sprinklers to develop the knowledge and competences necessary to meet the industry standards for the installation role.
The course encourages professionalism in the industry whilst offering a route to inspire new younger workers into the sector. With a labour shortage predicted for 2020 the IQ L2 Fire Sprinkler Installation certificate is becoming increasingly important.
With 24 students enrolled in 2015 the first year of qualification delivery, 21 enrolled in 2016, this year, 2017, has seen 26 enrolments across the two colleges with further requests for courses to be delivered in other areas of the UK. Expressing her delight, Ruth Oliver BAFSA’s Skills & Qualifications Adviser said “The hard work BAFSA and the Skills & Development Committee have undertaken over the last few years is showing results in a continuing demand for this qualification. However, we cannot rest as we must ensure the qualification is continually supported to remain fit for purpose and available to the industry”
Whilst enrolments for the qualification were initially received only from BAFSA companies, the 2017 courses have seen three non BAFSA companies enrolling employees, with one being a sub-contractor within the industry. “To see non BAFSA members enrolling on the qualification is a much welcome added bonus as it means that, in terms of the qualification, the word is spreading and that can only be positive for BAFSA and the industry as a whole” Ruth added.
In total, over the three years, 21 companies have enrolled employees and whilst the industry is male dominated the course has welcomed two female students during 2016 with a further enrolment this month. Enrolments have been received from those with little experience to those who have considerable experience and with the youngest student being 17 the qualification has no upper age limit. The course was design to provide the skills and knowledge required to work in the sector irrespective of age.
The demand for the Level 2 Certificate in Fire Sprinkler Installation delivered at Neath Port Talbot College and The Manchester College continues to grow with both 2017 courses being fully subscribed.
The latest L2 Course are full and this is very encouraging”, said BAFSA Chairman, John McCann. “In establishing national qualifications, upskilling awards and clear career pathways BAFSA is now highlighting the diverse range of opportunities within the industry and ensuring the workforce remains fit for purpose and ready for the challenges ahead.”
Further courses will commence at both Colleges in Autumn 2017 with a more recent delivery partner, Llandrillo College, North Wales confirming that it too welcomes enrolments. In the meantime BAFSA’s journey into education continues as it works to secure a new delivery partner for 2018 to provide further opportunities for qualification take up and ensure the demand for the qualification is responded to.
BAFSA Chief Executive, Keith MacGillivray MBE commented "Once again BAFSA Members are leading by example by encouraging their installers to enrol on the latest Level 2 Installers Course. Their participation on the course ensures that sprinkler systems are always installed to the highest standard, ensuring the system can be relied upon when it is most needed.” BAFSA is also developing a skills passport which will allow BAFSA members to share their skills and knowledge alongside them developing new skills within the industry.