Fire Safety Engineering Apprenticeships (2024 and Beyond)
Fire safety engineers play an important role in society, ensuring the buildings we live, work, and spend our leisure time in are safe for us to do so.
Working across industries including construction, Government, and manufacturing, they are highly skilled and valued.
Since The Fire Safety (England) Regulations were introduced on January 23rd, 2023, fire safety engineers have been more in demand than ever.
The new legislative framework is a response to the first phase of the Grenfell Tower public inquiry and has seen several changes towards creating a more collaborative fire safety protocol. Responsibilities have also increased for individuals, fueling a need for more qualified people in all aspects of fire safety.
What Does A Fire Safety Engineer Do?
The tasks and responsibilities of a fire safety engineer are many and varied depending on their level of seniority and the sector they work in, but may include:
- Pinpointing the fire safety design objectives of potential and ongoing projects
- Generating fire strategies, which include safety systems, fire escape routes, facilities and access for fire services
- Certifying that fire strategies comply with relevant building regulations
- Working with relevant third parties, such as building management and local fire and rescue services, to coordinate fire plans
- Creating and collating fire safety engineering studies and reports
- Developing computer simulations and models of building fire scenarios and occupant evacuation
- Writing clear and concise reports and audits
- Inspecting existing and new buildings to assess whether fire safety measures meet regulations
One way the UK Government are trying to meet this need is the introduction of more fire safety engineering apprenticeships.
Generally, fire safety engineers work alongside engineering consultancies or house-building companies. They may be self-employed or work for a company.
Other opportunities once you have earned your fire safety engineering degree, include working with local authorities or for an insurance company.
There are four main routes you can take to become a fire safety engineer:
- a university course
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
Each option has pros and cons, such as cost, time or eligibility.
For example, you can study for a foundation degree, a degree of a higher national diploma in engineering, followed by an undergraduate or postgraduate specialist Fire Safety Engineering course. However, this is a long route, particularly when fire safety engineers are in high demand today. It can also be expensive, with student loans, course costs and the general cost of living all providing a challenge.
Working towards the role while working in a related field may be possible but, again, takes time, and it can be difficult to juggle studying for new qualifications with a full-time job.
Fire Safety Engineering Degree Apprenticeship
The UK fire safety engineer apprenticeship is a degree apprenticeship (level 6) supported and informed by industry best practices and engineering principles.
It falls under the ‘Construction and the built environment’ category of apprenticeships and teaches both practical design and analytical assessment, as well as report writing and interpersonal skills.
What are the Entry Requirements?
As this is a degree (level 6) apprenticeship, you will usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs or equivalent at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C)
- A-Levels or equivalent in STEM subjects
You’ll need to be 16 or over, a UK resident and not in full-time education.
Most importantly, you will need to be a problem solver, adaptable and able to think analytically.
How Long Does it Last?
The fire safety engineering degree apprenticeship typically lasts around 60 months.
Is There Any Funding Available?
Yes, the UK Government will contribute a maximum of £27,000 for fire safety engineering apprenticeship training.
What Will I Earn?
The starting salary for a fire safety engineering degree apprentice is around £22,000, rising to around £34,000 – £38,000 a year upon completion of the programme.
What To Expect
This is a blended learning programme, combining hands-on experience, such as burning house simulations, with classroom learning to equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to work in this understaffed field.
You will use the latest technology and innovative tools to develop your design and analytical skills. There will be the opportunity to work in teams and engage in independent studies to help you hone your skills and apply them to real-world situations.
There are three levels, each with its own core modules. Each module is worth 20 credits, and you must complete all of them to earn the required 120 credits.
Level 4 Modules include:
- Engineering Principles
- Engineering Practice
- Mathematical Modelling
- Integrated Digital Design – Residential
- Introduction to Fire Safety and Accidents
- Fire Science and Risk Management
Level 5 Modules include:
- Fire Dynamics
- Civil Engineering
- Computational Fluid Dynamics and Finite Element Method
- Project Management
- Fire and the Built Environment
- Health and Safety/Fire Law
Level 6 Modules include:
- Structural Fire Engineering
- Fire Safety Management
- Fire Design Project
- Fire Thermodynamics
- Individual Honours Project
What Qualifications Do You Gain?
Completing the fire safety engineering degree apprenticeship will earn you a BEng Hons degree. It may also qualify you to join The Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SPFE), depending on your experience.
How Do I Apply?
You can also apply through an employer advertising the apprentice position, such as Arcadis, Miller Knight Ltd, Serco Plc, and Johnson Controls.
You can also find these opportunities on job sites, company websites, and the Government’s apprenticeships database.