In July 2014, we identified the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) as the route for raising the technical knowledge of our supervisory and middle managers. A pilot scheme was launched and following the successful uptake at all levels. In April 2015 the IFE qualifications were formally introduced as the gateway for participants of development centres. Participants are required to apply for and sit two papers of the relevant level of qualification aligned to the development centre they are applying for. The remaining one or two papers are then required to be completed before the participant will be deemed competent in role.
The levels of IFE qualifications are aligned to the levels of management as detailed below:
- The IFE Level 3 Certification in Fire Science, Operations, Fire Safety and Management – Crew Commander
- IFE Level 3 Diploma in Fire Science and Fire Safety – Watch Commander
- IFE Level 4 Certificate in Fire Science and Fire Safety – Station Commander
In July 2015, BFRS rolled out the IFE technical knowledge requirements to on-call staff wanting to progress with their development.
We have now been awarded centre status for the IFE, and hold examinations within the county biannually.
The IFE examinations along with appraisal nomination, form the gateway for the development centres.
The increase in on-call applications reflects the introduction of the IFE for on-call personnel and the development centre being held later in October.
An example of the IFE now becoming embedded as part of the development centre process is where one firefighter sat a watch commander paper, having only recently passed his Crew Commander papers and development centre – preparing himself for future career progression.
The full suite of examination papers was held on the 10th & 11th March 2016. Buckinghamshire managed this centre, Oxfordshire had candidates in attendance. Another set of examination papers were sat in October 2016, also hosted by Buckinghamshire.
A pilot is being run with the introduction of The IFE Level 2 Certificate in Fire Science into our on-call firefighter development programme. This qualification covers the knowledge requirements of the National Occupational Standards for the firefighter role. 10 Individuals were invited to take the examination as part of the pilot, instead of the periodic timely subject specific written assessments currently within the programme. Six have confirmed that they wish to partake in the pilot and have been provided with the resources in order to study for the examination. The cost of this exam is funded by the organisation as it is part of the core role.