Look around at any fire safety event aimed at the ‘professionals’ and you will see a raft of experienced heads; you can tell that by the grey hair and, indeed, the lack of hair!
It’s a lot harder to spot the ‘future’ fire safety expert; the ones just starting out on the journey that the older generation have travelled along. A recent article on IFSEC Global highlighted the skills shortage in fire systems engineering – but that can be said of many fire disciplines too: fire risk assessors, fire engineers, fire safety managers and trainers.
The IFSM (Institute of Fire Safety Managers) council have young professionals on their radar, and below are some ideas and initiatives they would like to introduce, aimed directly at supporting the young and student members of the IFSM and wider fire safety community.
Who are young professionals? Those in their teens, 20s and early 30s.
We are looking for an original thinker, someone with a new approach to fire and fire safety. Tell us about what ideas, theories or strategies you can see working.
Career pathways, mentor support and career opportunities
One thing is obvious in the fire community: the career path the Fire and Rescue Service has provided for many senior figures in UK fire today.
However, that system of progressing through the fire service isn’t for everyone. Indeed, the flow of well-trained and experienced fire safety professionals leaving the service to work in the private sector has slowed down.
Many other career paths into fire safety are less clearly defined, especially in the fields of fire-risk assessment and fire-risk management.
A stepping stone!
The IFSM is working with various organisations on a fire-safety apprenticeship scheme. It’s early days at the moment, but having a structured foundation course delivered on an academic basis will undoubtedly encourage young people to make fire safety a career choice.
We all need a helping hand!
When you work in an industry where the answer to any question is ‘it depends…’, there will always be times when you need the help of a wise old head or even just a second opinion on something.
For those with an established network there is always a peer at the end of a phone or email who can be a sounding board. Even those with many years under their belt need to chat through tricky problems.
The IFSM Council and, hopefully, senior members of the institute will be available as mentors. Young professionals and student’s members can approach the institute and have a mentor assigned to them. They will give you a helping hand or a second opinion, within reason and if they can!
Membership has its free privileges!
We will continue to engage with the ‘fire’ universities in the UK and recruit as many student members as we can. Membership for full-time students is free and Lloyd and Simon are embarking on a virtual and physical tour of universities in the UK to try and sign up new and existing students.
They will be starting in September this year, with an aim of lowering the average membership age significantly. Students will enjoy the benefits of IFSM membership and hopefully become lifelong members.
This is me!
How can employers find and recruit new and talented young professionals?
We would like to feature graduates and young professionals in the institute’s quarterly magazine, Daedalus, in a series of interviews.
The articles will be a broad look at the individual – both professionally and personally – in an attempt to introduce the person to as wide a community as possible. If you are, or know of, a young professional, please get in touch with us at the foot of this article.
That’s new! £200 award for the most original and thought-provoking article.
We are looking for an original thinker, someone with a new approach to fire and fire safety, a fresh pair of eyes looking at the sector and sector-specific issues. Tell us about what ideas, theories or strategies you can see working.
We are looking for 250 to 1,000 words on anything fire related. We will print the best ones in Daedalus (The Institute’s newsletter) and present the award to our winner at our AGM in Manchester on 10 October. This competition is open to members and non-member students and young professionals.
See below for contact details.
Lloyd Morgan: [email protected]
Simon Ince: [email protected]Click here to download flyer