New ECS card renewal requirements for fire, emergency and security

Fire alarm systems

The Electrotechnical Certification Scheme (ECS) has issued a reminder to ECS card holders that from 1 July 2021 anybody renewing an ECS Fire Detection & Alarm Systems or an Emergency & Security Systems card for the industry will need to meet the new requirements for Fire, Emergency and Security Systems (FESS) ECS occupations.

There are now four sector disciplines recognised by the ECS in the FESS industry, which include Fire; Fire and Emergency Lighting; Security (Including Access Control, Intruder and CCTV systems), and Fire and Security. Each sector recognises three disciplines which include Systems Operative, Systems Technician and Technical Manager. In addition, the occupations of Labourer, Trainee and Apprentice are recognised by ECS. ECS Fire Detection & Alarm Systems or an Emergency & Security Systems cardholder that completed a recognised industry apprenticeship will be able to continue to renew their ECS card.

The new Occupational Qualification Structure introduced by the FESS industry and leading to Electrotechnical Certification Scheme (ECS) card recognition is aimed at promoting higher standards and skills and advancing the standards of professionalism and competence in the sector. The new structure has been developed by an industry-wide working group formed by leading trade associations and employer representatives, including British Security Industry Association (BSIA), FESS Employer Group, Fire Industry Association (FIA), Fire & Security Association (FSA), SELECT, Security Systems and Alarm Inspection Board (SSAIB) and the Joint Industry Board (JIB). Uniquely recognising the introduction of the FESS Trailblazer, the new structure sets the standard for new entrants to the market at Level 3 whilst also addressing the need to recognise the training, experience and qualifications of the current workforce.

From 1 January 2021 the new requirements for Fire, Emergency and Security Systems (FESS) ECS occupations became compulsory for all new (initial) card applications, meaning that all new applicants will be required to hold a pathway-specific FESS assessment for the ECS occupation being applied for.

Jay Parmar, Chief Executive of the JIB, says: “The changes brought in at the start of 2021 will take competency standards in the FESS industry to a new level of professionalism. The new pathway also recognises the differences in training, experience and qualifications for those already in the industry, which critically identifies a minimum standard for those who install and maintain fire, emergency and security systems. I am in no doubt that this will be of huge benefit to the future of the FESS workforce.”

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