Tackling the skills shortage

Cygnus Academy

Like many skilled industries, the fire alarm installation and engineering sector is experiencing a skills shortage, a situation that has become more acute recently due to the effects of Brexit and the aftermath of the Covid pandemic. 

Take advantage of apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are a great way to encourage young people into the fire safety industry. There are apprenticeships in fire, emergency and security systems that lead to a recognised Level 3 NVQ qualification, providing a pathway to becoming a qualified fire and security alarm systems installer or engineer. The pathway to an apprenticeship is a blend of ‘on the job’ training and mentoring (around 80% of the time) and classroom training (around 20%). At the end of the apprenticeship (usually three years), apprentices will be qualified to design, install and maintain electronic systems to protect businesses and homes from fire, break-ins and other emergencies. 

One of the advantages of employing apprentices is that they become more valuable to the employer as they progress through their training. Another is that the apprenticeship process builds up a sense of attachment and loyalty to the employing organisation and its culture, making it more likely to retain the services of the employee once qualified.

Attracting experience to the industry 

Another way of plugging the skills shortage gap is by attracting more experienced people, perhaps in related fields such as electricians, security systems or telecoms engineers. They may need some top-up training to become competent fire detection and alarm engineers, but they are likely to have transferable skills and aptitudes to make them highly suitable for the role. 

At Cygnus we also offer our engineers a range of employment conditions that contribute towards employment satisfaction. These include flexible working hours, remote working, and opportunities to train and develop themselves and obtain promotion. In addition to attractive salaries, these ‘soft’ terms and conditions do a great deal to attract and retain talented employees.  

Our new SmartNet system can also support those installers already working within the industry. Its ease and speed of installation allows more systems to be installed by the same number of skilled workers!