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Thursday 14th November saw our MD (and Council member for BAFSA, our industry body) in Liverpool for a Council meeting, the AGM and the annual dinner.

Two pieces of good news from the Council – firstly, the sprinkler design course which BAFSA invested in earlier this year has sold out every session so far (and into 2020) and is returning a modest level of income for the body…which in turn has allowed member subscription rates to remain at current levels until at least 2021.

A key message throughout the Council meeting and AGM is that of training and development within the industry, and a possible ‘brewing problem’.

Level 2 sprinkler installer training courses have been developed by BAFSA members, and are offered by Manchester College, Neath Port Talbot College, London South East College and West College Scotland. Qualification is by either day release (1 day per week over 36 weeks) block release (3-5 days per week over 5-8 months) or, for experienced workers, just one week. More information can be found here.

It’s of some embarrassment to the industry that, due to lack of enrolments, more than a small number of courses have had to be cancelled by the colleges. Perhaps the main reason is that the industry as a whole is very busy…however, this may not continue if training and qualification opportunities are not taken advantage of. Do we want the plumbers to take over?

There is a recent development which may force some action where, so far, it’s been slow in some areas…

SKILLcard announced in July 2019 that it was not accepting any new applications for Fire Sprinkler Installer CRO cards and, after 31 January 2020, it will not be possible to renew any currently held card.

Instead, all new applications and renewals will only be possible via a blue SKILLcard, which itself requires completion of one of the IQ Level 2 courses mentioned above.

During the AGM, the CRO phasedown and requirements for renewal caused some ‘consternation’ to say the least, with companies reliant on subcontractors especially concerned.

Please refer to the links above for further information.

For those concerned or annoyed, the question is: “Do we want the plumbers to take over?”

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