A new route for fire industry technicians to become accredited to the industry Level 3 standard has been launched by National Electrotechnical Training (NET).
The FESS Experienced Worker Assessment is for people who have been working with fire, emergency or security systems for typically a minimum of five years.
To ensure parity across the whole industry, it has been based on the same content as the FESS Apprenticeship, so both new entrants and existing workers are being assessed and accredited to the same standard.
The assessment process involves a number of elements which must be completed within 12 months. Candidates will need to carry out and record a range of specified tasks in their workplace (covering health and safety, installation, commissioning, inspection and servicing) and upload the evidence to NET’s assessment system.
These tasks will be verified by an authorised person to ensure it’s the candidate’s own work, then independently assessed and marked by a NET assessor to confirm they have met the Level 3 industry standard. NET will also carry out quality assurance audits once marking is completed.
Then, in a NET-licensed centre, candidates also will need to complete safe isolation of a single-phase circuit, under controlled conditions.
Finally, they will need to carry out a 90-minute online knowledge assessment in a NET centre, under observation. If they hold certain fire and security qualifications, they may be exempt from the online knowledge assessment.
Successful completion of the Experienced Worker Assessment is recognised by the Electrotechnical Certification Scheme and can be used towards a FESS ECS Gold Card application.
Work is underway to confirm arrangements for experienced workers who specialise in specific areas within the industry e.g. installation or maintenance. Development work on a route for the security industry will also start this month.
To develop the assessment, NET worked with a group of industry bodies including the BSIA, FIA, FSA, FESS Employer Group, SELECT and SSAIB. Pat Allen, who chaired the industry working group, says: “The increasing external requirements on this safety-critical industry means our workforce need to be both professional and qualified – this new assessment complements the FESS Apprenticeship so now experienced workers as well as apprentices can now also formally recognise their skills and become accredited.”