Experienced workers achieve new Level 3 NVQ in Electronic Fire and Security Systems

The first four people to complete the EAL Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Providing Electronic Fire and Security Systems; Shaun Wright, Daren Pool, Gary Flockton and John Watts have had their qualifications presented to them by EAL’s Managing Director Al Parkes and Dame Judith Hackitt DBE, Chair of the EAL board.

Launched in 2020, the EAL Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Providing Electronic Fire and Security Systems represents a significant advancement in certification for the fire safety industry. It fulfils the requirements of the review into individual competence, led by Dame Judith Hackitt DBE, following the tragedy at Grenfell. It also meets the requirements for industry recognition through the Electrotechnical Certification Scheme (ECS) for a Fire, Emergency and Security Systems (FESS) Technician gold card. The four successful candidates were also presented with their gold cards on the day.

The NVQ qualification is available as part of an apprenticeship in Northern Ireland and Wales and this new pathway offers those with experience of working in the Fire sector, who did not have the chance to undertake an apprenticeship, a route to meet the same standard.

All four of these successful learners came through ZZEUS Training, which provides training and examinations for electricians and fire alarm engineers at its specially designed training centre.

Shaun Wright is a qualified self-employed electrician and fire alarm specialist. His main contracts are with schools in Nottinghamshire, where he works with systems that involve dozens of fire panels in a network covering numerous buildings. He was the first person to complete the EAL Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Providing Electronic Fire and Security Systems as part of the experienced worker route in the UK.

Daren Pool, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Triple Star Fire and Security Limited, embodies a commitment to excellence, innovation, and community service. With a BEng in Building Engineering and extensive fire knowledge, Daren has steered Triple Star towards becoming a beacon of quality and reliability in the fire and security industry. His impact extends beyond the business, actively participating in industry committees. Daren has contributed to safety protocols through BSI committees, serves as Branch Chair of the Electrical Contractors’ Association, and is a committee member of the Fire and Security Association.

Gary Flockton, Associate Director at Kiwa Fire Safety Compliance, is a fire engineer specialising in smoke and evacuation modelling, structural fire engineering and radiation analysis. With over 20 years of experience, he often works on systems with budgets over £100m. Gary’s specialty is problem solving where systems fail to meet standards and requirements.

Apprentice-served, self-employed electrician John Watts has more than 25 years of experience in the industry. He specialises in very high-level fire alarm and detection systems in HMP Prisons in Norfolk, with some of the most challenging system requirements.

Dr Tom Brookes, Managing Director of ZZEUS Training and Chairman of the Fire & Security Association (FSA), commented: “I am delighted that four learners from ZZEUS Training have broken new ground in achieving the EAL Level 3 Diploma in Providing Electronic Fire and Security Systems. We’re exploring the possibility of making this qualification a recognised pathway to membership of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, which would elevate fire alarm engineers to professional engineering status.”

ZZEUS Training differs from many fire alarm training providers. Every course we offer includes at least 4 days of practical hands-on training. All trainers and assessors are EQA, Assessor and Teacher qualified with lead trainer Buddy Squires, holding a master’s level teaching qualification. Furthermore, all ZZEUS trainers are active fire alarm technicians.

ZZEUS Training hosts the UK’s only EAL and British Fire Consortium Centre of Excellence dedicated fire alarm technician training centre, collaborating with over 15 fire system manufacturers.”

Tom continued: “Because of my belief in improving the fire alarm sector competency, I was delighted when Dame Judith Hackitt wanted to present the EAL Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Providing Electronic Fire and Security Systems to the first group of experienced workers to prove their competency via this route. The pride I took when Dame Judith said that ZZEUS Training was a pioneer in fire system training will stay with me forever as a testimonial to us striving to do the right thing.”

Andy Reakes, Director of Growth and Development at The Joint Industry Board and the Electrotechnical Certification Scheme, has been working on improving Fire and Security ECS cards to ensure they are meaningful and meet all the legislative and industry competency requirements. This resulted in the EAL Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Providing Electronic Fire and Security being fully recognised in the electrical and fire sector and as part of Working Group 2: Installers and the Fire Detection and Alarm Systems pilot group within the Competence Steering Groups.

Kevin Sparrow, EAL’s Industry Portfolio Manager for Building Services Engineering, worked with Tom and ECS to ensure he set about ensuring that anyone completing the EAL Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Providing Electronic Fire and Security Systems would meet the Fire, Emergency and Security Systems (FESS) Technician Apprenticeship Standard and the new requirements of the ECS Fire Systems Technician Gold card.

Al Parkes, Managing Director, EAL said: “As the specialist Awarding Organisation, End Point Assessment Organisation and skills partner for the Engineering & Manufacturing and Building Services Engineering industries, we seek to ensure that all our qualifications provide the right skills at the right time to keep up with evolving industry and societal needs.

“The EAL Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Providing Electronic Fire and Security Systems is a great example of this. Not only does it provide a meaningful qualification for experienced fire system engineers, but it also addressed the need we all have for highly skilled professionals to ensure these systems to keep us safe.”