22 January 2018 by ,

Launching a new training course is exciting and scary at the same time. The Foundation unit, the the first unit of the four new FIA Fire Detection & Alarm qualifications, is now off and running.  

So many questions have surrounded the launch of the qualification: How difficult or easy would it be?  Will it provide what employers want? Will delegates pass?

Thankfully, the initial results and feedback are good, with those that have undertaken the course clearly excited to study the other units to gain the full qualification.  Our Twitter inbox has been exploding with votes of confidence for the new course!


Through a full consultation process, the old training courses in fire detection and alarms have been replaced with much more comprehensive qualifications, validated through OFQUAL, CCEA, and QIW (the governmental bodies for qualifications within the UK).  Doing this has pushed the boundaries of everything we used to do and moved us forward from training to learning. The difference here to note is that training is the giving of information and knowledge, through speech, the written word or other methods of demonstration in a manner that instructs the trainee. Learning is the process of absorbing that information in order to increase skills and abilities and make use of it under a variety of contexts.

With so many new areas and such depth added to the Foundation course, we at FIA HQ were concerned that providing this much detail may not ‘stick’ with our delegates (there is so much to learn in just two days!). The early results show that 82% passed the exam first time.

One of the biggest changes as we make this move from training to learning is the examination process.  The one-hour exam is no longer open book and the questions ask delegates to apply what they have learnt to test their understanding.  This is conducted in strict examination conditions (i.e. in silence, with no assistance from others, and to a timer).  This is a huge difference as it helps prove exactly what the individual has learnt over the course. 

In the first 3 courses 62+ delegates have competed the exam and report “it’s a lot harder than the old unit 1 course”. They also say the material is impressive.

As with many new product launches there are small teething issues – Wi-Fi strength for the online exam, new tablets updating software, just when we need to use them, as examples, however, we are managing our way through these and we are delighted by the pass rates and the feedback on content.

We still have a number of new units for the qualification yet to release, and we will continue to enhance the new courses as we get better at helping delegates to learn.

We are adding training videos for delegates to use as pre-learning and revision and another one to explain exactly what is covered within the Foundation unit.

The early signs are very positive with the first eight courses fully booked and the other courses filling up quickly.  We plan to provide dates for the other units soon and we look forward to awarding the first qualification in the next few months.

Read more about the Foundation unit>>