Beating the skills shortage

The growing skills shortage within the security and fire sector has received much attention over the years.

Jamie Allam, CEO Amthal highlights how the company is looking to resolve the issue and deliver customer excellence, developing its workforce and inspiring the next generation of talent.

Apprentices are Key
The solution to reducing the skills gap in the industry is hiring more entrants within the sector, but this is not as easy as it may seem.

We have found a need to complement it with installation Engineers who are from outside the sector and embrace a culture of back to basics training, or even further down their career path, and keen to stabilise in a company willing to commit to their personal development.

Qualifications in the fire and security field which meet our needs as responsible employers, and are recognised across the sector, would be one step to guaranteeing the skillset of those in the industry.

As we have just seen with the rising prominence of Apprentices, this also makes the industry far more appealing to those considering entering it, as they’ll see the path they can follow throughout their training and career.

One promising step forward is seeing how Apprentices will soon be recognised in the UCAS process. The Education Secretary Gillian Keegan pledged to develop a “one-stop-shop where young people can compare the full range of occupations, training and education opportunities available to them.”

Within this, security and fire safety are dynamic industries, and there are plenty of opportunities for a fulfilling and rewarding career.  We have a duty to support all those considering it as an option to inspire and create training strategies to provide a structured career progression path.

At Amthal, Apprenticeship schemes are certainly creating a more open business environment.  We have employed and retained (and promoted) the majority of our Apprentices, who have been supervised by our senior team.  In return, they are ready to adopt to new innovations, and embrace the smart technologies available quickly and efficiently.

Multi-disciplined v Specialist Engineers
The next issue the industry faces is the confusion over whether engineers should be fire or security engineers, or a combination of both.

For Amthal, we see them as separate disciplines and actively encourage our teams to choose their path, in line with learning and supervision from our senior team.  Our issue with multi-discipline engineers is that there is no guarantee that life safety and security systems are installed and maintained to certain standards.

A multi-disciplined engineer has to keep up with so many systems and constantly increase their knowledge, which is almost impossible to do with a heavy workload. Still, this is critical for companies to ensure legal requirements are met.

In security, it means our engineers can specialise in fast-evolving advances in artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), the cloud, and biometrics.  Each of these demonstrating how security is moving away from its silo and integrating itself into wider business operations.

In fire safety, Engineers must remain aware of the implications of very latest legislation, not just from an installation perspective, but also for ongoing maintenance contracts.  Here, we have found key partnerships with dedicated Engineer personnel, can offer the essential peace of mind and personalised experience that Responsible Persons now demand to stay compliant.

We believe, and our customers are testament to this, that when our engineers can specialise in security or fire, to excel in one area and increase expertise through the business, we in turn provide higher customer service levels.

In summary, the skills shortage remains a guaranteed topic of conversation and it is more important than ever before to attract new individuals to the sector. If these issues aren’t resolved soon, the skills gap will only increase and create more risks for premises and employers around the country.

Amthal has worked hard to think differently about our recruitment of installation Engineers.  As well as welcoming a number of Apprentices, we welcome a number various points in their career journey, taking into account experience and understanding of the industry wide working environment.

With a number of benefits available and our dedicated investment in time and resource for each new member of our team, we believe we are building a skilled workforce that can apply the technical aspects of fire and security installation.  This is both in traditional, and encompassing latest smart solutions (or often a mixture of both) quickly and efficiently to achieve the requirements of today’s increasingly discerning commercial customers.