2nd May 2017

Fire safety training left out in cold

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A study carried out by Hochiki Europe, one of the world’s largest manufacturers and suppliers of industrial fire detection products, polled hundreds of fire safety and emergency lighting installers in Europe.

It discovered that just 39 per cent of installers worked for a firm that offered an apprenticeship programme and only 17 per cent claimed that their employer offered a graduate programme to attract university leavers.

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) recently released figures showing that the shortage of skills in the construction sector, which includes fire engineering, is at a four-year high.

Ray Turner, general manager of operations at Hochiki Europe, said: “The skills gap both in our own sector and across the built environment has been a pressing concern for a number of years but, as the survey shows, our industry is doing too little to address the issue.

“If the industry is to continue to grow into the future, it is imperative that manufacturers and installers create the training opportunities necessary to equip the next generation with the skills they need to build a fulfilling career as life safety professionals.

“Working closely with schools and universities – as individual companies and in partnership with others in the industry – will be crucial to help promote the array of career options, and the paths into the sector. Taking this kind of action now, we can ensure we have the expertise we need not just to thrive today, but to face new challenges tomorrow.”

The study also identified a lack of enthusiasm among school leavers for the life safety sector as a potential career.

93 per cent of respondents agreed that the sector had a responsibility to educate secondary school pupils on the range of life safety roles available in order to change perceptions.