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Plugging the skills gap to save lives

Plugging the skills gap to save lives

Award-winning fire safety specialist Tom Brookes is on a mission to save more lives and create a safer world by ensuring all fire alarm engineers are professionally qualified to British Standard BS 5839.

The Managing Director of Zzeus Training in Lincoln – who won two prestigious accolades at the recent Enginuity Skills Awards in London – claims that too many alarm engineers are going about their work without having top industry-recognised qualifications.

Tom, who was named Skills Champion of The Year and who scooped the coveted  Best of British Engineering prize at the awards celebration, has been training alarm engineers who visit commercial and public buildings since launching Zzeus in 2011.

He said research, revealed during the Hackitt Review, showed there are about 40,000 fire alarm engineers working within companies, Government premises, hospitals and public buildings countrywide, but only about 8,000 are holders of Ofqual-approved qualifications.

Tom has a wealth of qualifications under his belt and is a member of numerous industry bodies. As one of the country’s leading experts in fire alarm and detection systems competency, he was a member of the working groups which reported into the Hackitt Review in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Trade skills awarding body EAL (which complements the work of Enginuity and works to raise competency standards within engineering) validates Zzeus’ training programmes.

“EAL’s validation is vital, in our drive to  polish the skills of alarm engineers. We are determined to ensure they become better skilled, more professional and fully confident in their abilities,” said Tom.

“During the first Covid lockdown, Zzeus delivered training for 250 people.  That figure has since risen to about 1,000, but there are plenty of opportunities to close the skills gap countrywide.

“I am passionate about making a real difference - whether engineers are just starting out and eager to make a career in the sector, thinking of going self-employed, or are working engineers current fire alarm engineers. They may be in their fifties and sixties but, historically, have never had an opportunity to gain a professional qualification."

Zzeuss, which is based in Crofton Drive, in Lincoln’s Allenby Industrial Estate,  has grown to have a turnover of £600,000. Its training programmes complement the work of its award-winning sister business Lindum Fire Services.

It employs 12 people has a turnover of about £1 million and supplies safety equipment and advice to companies and organisations nationwide.

In October 2021, Lindum Fire Services was awarded the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) Excellence in Training & Development Awards, for firms with a turnover under £15 million.


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